ankara-70528_1920 , in Turkey
Iraq Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi started an official visit to Turkey today. Image Credit: Agency

Cairo: Iraq’s Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi Thursday started an official visit to Turkey expected to focus on tackling security and economic links between the two neighbours.

Al-Kadhimi, leading a top-level government delegation, arrived in Ankara on his firsit visit to Turkey since he took office in May, the Iraqi news agency INA reported.

Ties between Ankara and Baghdad have recently soured over Turkish attacks in northern Iraq against insurgents of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party.

In August, three Iraqi border guard personnel were killed in a strike by a Turkish drone in the Iraqi region of Kurdistan.

The attack prompted Baghdad to cancel a scheduled visit by the Turkish defence minister and summon the Turkish ambassador in Iraq in protest.

Bilateral cooperation

During his current visit, Al Kadhimi will meet Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and other officials to discuss boost of bilateral cooperation, his office said.

They will also discuss a “number of files and issues” of mutual interest, Al Kadhimi’s office without details.

The talks will focus on promoting Iraqi-Turkish trade links, cancelling entry visas for each other’s citizens and curbing the PKK presence, Iraqi media quoted officials in Baghdad as saying.

“There will be cooperation with Turkey to freeze or limit the PKK activities that have affected Iraq’s sovereignty,” Mohammed Reda Al Haidr, the head of Iraqi parliament’s security and defence committee, said.

Turkey has repeatedly struck PKK fighters both in its mainly Kurdish south east and in northern Iraq where the group is based.