First Published: 2009-10-30

Turkish FM in Iraq's Kurdistan

Davutoglu holds talks with Kurdish president as part of Ankara's efforts to end conflict with PKK rebels.


Middle East Online


ARBIL - Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmed Davutoglu arrived in the autonomous Kurdish region of Iraq on Friday, as part of Ankara's efforts to end a conflict with Kurdish rebels based across its southern border.

Davutoglu's visit to Arbil, the first by a Turkish minister to the region, will include talks with Kurdish president Massud Barzani, and follows a short trip to Iraq's southern port of Basra, where he opened a new Turkish consulate.

The visit is also a sign of improving ties between Baghdad and Ankara, and follows a trip to Baghdad by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan earlier in the month.

Davutoglu, Trade Minister Zafer Caglayan and a delegation of around 70 officials and businessmen were received at the airport by Kurdish prime minister Barham Saleh and Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari, a Kurd.

They did not make any statements or speak to the press.

Turkey has been involved in a 25-year-long bloody conflict with the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which has rear bases in Iraq, that has claimed around 45,000 lives.

The PKK, listed as a terrorist group by Turkey and much of the international community, took up arms for self-rule in Turkey's mainly Kurdish southeast.

Turkish-Iraqi ties have gathered steam since they formed a joint committee with the United States last November to combat the PKK. It meets every two months to exchange intelligence and to coordinate security measures against the rebels.

Earlier on Friday, Davutoglu and Caglayan visited Basra to open a new Turkish consulate. Turkey already has an embassy in Baghdad and a consulate in the northern city of Mosul.

It is planning to open another consulate, in Arbil, shortly.

"This visit is to crown the improved relations between Iraq and Turkey, and showcases joint trade and economic cooperation between the two countries," Iraq's Parliamentary Affairs Minister Safaldin al-Safi told reporters after receiving the Turkish delegation in Basra.


Rebels evacuate Syria's Eastern Ghouta

Sarkozy says life ‘living hell’ since corruption allegations

Turkey’s largest media group to be sold to Erdogan ally

Hezbollah leader says debt threatens Lebanon disaster

Exiled Syrian doctors treat refugees in Turkey

In world first, flight to Israel crosses Saudi airspace

Saudi, US must pursue 'urgent efforts' for Yemen peace: Mattis

US, Jordan launch new counterterrorism training centre

Two Hamas security force members killed in raid on bomb suspect

Turkey gives watchdog power to block internet broadcasts

EU leaders to condemn Turkey’s ‘illegal’ actions in Mediterranean

Ahed Tamimi reaches plea deal for eight months in jail

UN launching final push to salvage Libya political agreement

Conditions for displaced from Syria's Ghouta 'tragic': UN

Sisi urges Egyptians to vote, denies excluding rivals

Rights Watch says Libya not ready for elections

Saudis revamp school curriculum to combat Muslim Brotherhood

American mother trapped in Syria’s Ghouta calls out Trump

Syria workers say French firm abandoned them to jihadists

Grim Nowruz for Kurds fleeing Afrin

Sarkozy back in custody for second day of questioning

'Saudization' taking its toll on salesmen

Syrian rebels reach evacuation deal in Eastern Ghouta town

Israel confirms it hit suspected Syrian nuclear reactor in 2007

UN says Turkey security measures 'curtail human rights'

Netanyahu says African migrants threaten Jewish majority

US Senate votes on involvement in Yemen war as Saudi prince visits

What a ‘limited strike’ against Syria’s Assad might mean

Erdogan tells US to stop ‘deceiving’, start helping on Syria

IS controls Damascus district in surprise attack

French ex-president held over Libya financing allegations

NGO says Israeli army violating Palestinian minors’ rights

Human rights chief slams Security Council for inaction on Syria

US warns Turkey over civilians caught in Syria assault

Saudi crown prince keen to cement ties with US

Abbas calls US ambassador to Israel 'son of a dog'

Erdogan vows to expand Syria op to other Kurdish-held areas

Kurdish envoy accuses foreign powers of ignoring Turkish war crimes

Morocco authorities vow to close Jerada's abandoned mines

Israeli soldier sees manslaughter sentence slashed

Turkey insists no plans to remain in Afrin

Cairo voters show unwavering support for native son Sisi

Forum in Jordan explores new teaching techniques

Gaza Strip woes receive renewed attention but no fix is expected

Kurds, Syrian opposition condemn Afrin looting