Iraqi PM to make official visit to Ankara
Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi will pay a one-day official visit to Ankara to discuss economy and security matters with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as the central government in Baghdad and the regional government in Erbil have launched a joint effort to wipe out the PKK and other groups from Shingal.

According to a statement issued by the Turkish presidency, the two leaders will discuss all the aspects of the bilateral relations including combatting terrorism, the reconstruction of Iraq, trade and energy in a bid to further improve ties between the two neighbors.

Erdogan and al-Kadhimi will review the recent developments in the region during the talks, it added.

Ahead of al-Kadhimi’s visit, Iraqi Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein came to Ankara for the preparation of the prime minister’s visit, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a written statement.

Al-Kadhimi took the office in May 2020 and is paying his first visit to Turkey upon the invitation of Erdogan.

As noted by the presidential statement, security will be one of the top issues the two leaders will discuss, particularly after Baghdad and Erbil agreed to clear the Shingal province from the PKK’s presence.

The PKK, which has its headquarters and training camps in different parts of Northern Iraq, is designated as a terror organization by Turkey, the United States and the European Union.

The Iraqi central government and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) announced in early October an agreement to eradicate terrorist groups in Shingal, a move welcomed by Turkey.

Turkey has long been urging the Iraqi authorities about the PKK using the region as a new headquarters as the organization is no longer feeling safe in the Qandil Mountains region of Northern Iraq where they have their main headquarters and training camps.

Turkey offered help to Baghdad and Arbil to clear the area from the PKK as well as ISIS, which has a small presence in the area.

The PKK managed to establish a foothold in Shingal in mid-2014 under the pretext of protecting the local Yazidi community from ISIS. Around 450,000 Yazidis escaped Sinjar after the ISIL group took control of the region in mid-2014.

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