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 Turkish foreign minister in Iraq's Kurdistan 

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Turkish foreign minister in Iraq's Kurdistan  31.10.2009  




Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, right, shakes hands with Kurdistan regional President Massoud Barzani prior their meeting, in Erbil, the Iraqi Kurdistan's capital, 350 kilometers (217 miles) north of Baghdad, Friday, Oct. 30, 2009. Davutoglu and State Minister Zafer Caglayan, in charge of foreign trade, flew to Iraq on Friday for a two-day visit. Photo AP
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Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, right, shakes hands with the outgoing PM of Kurdistan region Nechirvan Barzani in Erbil, the Iraqi Kurdistan's capital, 350 kilometers (217 miles) north of Baghdad, Friday, Oct. 30, 2009. Photo KRG.

Turkish Officials Make Historic Visit to Erbil

October 31, 2009


ERBIL-Hewlęr, Kurdistan region 'Iraq', — Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmed Davutoglu arrived in the autonomous Kurdistan 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 Erbil, the first by a Turkish minister to the region, will include talks with Kurdistan president Massoud Barzani,
www.Ekurd.net 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 Salih and Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari, a Kurd, an AFP journalist said.

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

Turkey has been involved in a 25-year-long bloody conflict with the Turkey's Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) for self-rule in the mainly Kurdish southeast of Turkey (Turkey-Kurdistan), which has rear bases in Iraqi Kurdistan, that has claimed around 45,000 lives.

The PKK demanded Turkey's recognition of the Kurds' identity in its constitution and of their language as a native language along with Turkish in the country's Kurdish areas, the party also demanded an end to ethnic discrimination in Turkish laws and constitution against Kurds, ranting them full political freedoms.

The PKK is considered as 'terrorist' organization by Ankara, U.S., the PKK continues to be on the blacklist list in EU despite court ruling which overturned a decision to place the Kurdish rebel group PKK and its political wing on the European Union's terror list.

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 Erbil, 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.

Copyright, respective author or news agency, AFP | Ekurd.net | Agencies

 

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