President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and President Barham Salih of Iraq held a joint press conference at the Presidential Complex following their tête-à-tête and the meeting between the delegations.
Expressing his pleasure to host President Salih and his delegation in Ankara, President Erdoğan wished that the recently-formed Iraqi government will lead to auspicious results for the region and the Iraqi people.
“WE WILL BE ENDEAVORING TO ENHANCE RELATIONS IN EVERY AREA WITH IRAQ”
Recalling that he paid three visits to Iraq during his tenure as the Prime Minister, and that the mechanism of High Level Strategic Cooperation Council was first installed in Iraq, President Erdoğan noted that they will be endeavoring to enhance relations in every area with the neighboring country Iraq.
Pointing to the several agreements signed in various fields during his visit to Baghdad on October 15, 2009, President Erdoğan said that they will resume the meetings of the High Level Strategic Cooperation Council as of this year.
Stating that Iraq has achieved victory in its anti-DAESH fight, which has been appreciated by the entire world, President Erdoğan noted: “However, the price of this victory has been heavy. The history and civilization have been brought down in ruins in many places, and our many Iraqi brothers and sisters have been martyred. Turkey has given a strong support to Iraq with this difficult fight of its.”
“IT IS CRUCIAL IN TERMS OF THE REGIONAL SECURITY THAT IRAQ STANDS ON ITS OWN TWO FEET”
Wishing Allah’s mercy upon those who have been martyred during the fight against DAESH, President Erdoğan stressed: “Our policy toward Iraq is based on preserving Iraq’s political unity and territorial integrity as well as ensuring its stability and security. Turkey is ready to make any kind of contribution to the efforts for Iraq’s stability and reconstruction. It can be every kind of support in terms of both infrastructure and superstructure works that we can provide during all this process. We are ready to give every kind of support in every area, namely food, medication and textile.”
Underlining that it is their greatest wish that the newly-formed Iraqi government ensure the prosperity and well-being of the entire Iraqi people with inclusive policies, President Erdoğan added that it is crucial in terms of the regional security and stability that Iraq stands on its own two feet.
Further stressing that the meeting of the High Level Strategic Cooperation Council could not be held last year due to the elections and the government-forming process in Iraq, and that they desire to hold the fourth meeting of the Council within this year, President Erdoğan said they have sped up the works to realize the $5billion credit vowed at the conference held in Kuwait for the reconstruction of Iraq, and that they discussed this issue during the meeting between the delegations.
“LET US INCREASE THE BILATERAL TRADE VOLUME TO $20 BILLION”
Reiterating that they, as Turkey, are ready to contribute to the infrastructure and development projects in Iraq, first and foremost in the conflict-torn areas, President Erdoğan stated that during the meetings they addressed the issues of improving trade relations, and cooperation in the fields of transportation, customs, energy and water supply.
President Erdoğan, drawing attention to the record bilateral trade volume of $16 billion reached in 2013, noted: “Now I say, let us equalize that record and even increase it to 20 billion dollars. We want to reach that level once again, and even double it up. We have the power to do it. The Turkish private sector has all the means to make any kind of contribution to the revival of the Iraqi economy.”