Turkey’s Prime Minister Davutoglu met with leader of Iraqi parliament Salim Al-Jubouri on Tuesday in order to discuss regional issues in connection with the fight against ISIS and opportunities for development of bilateral cooperation between the countries.
Turkish media has reported that Davutoglu promised Jubouri he would continue to support the Iraqi government’s battle against ISIS. It also said he emphasised the utmost importance on ensuring consensus and union inside Iraq in order to fight against terrorism in the most effective way.
ISIS is recognised as a terrorist organisation and a serious threat for the regional security and peace by both Turkey and Iraq.
The militant organisation has been threatening the unity of Iraq and recently creating a chaotic situation for Turkey along its Syrian border as a result of its fight against Syrian opposition groups and the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG).
Turkey considers the YPG to be affiliated with the outlawed PKK, which carried out militant attacks in the country that led to killing of over 40,000 citizens and whose central leadership and militant structure are also stationed in the Qandil Mountains located in northern Iraq.
Davutoglu told Jubouri that Turkey has always been on the side of Iraq and all Iraqi leaders including Prime Minister Haydar al Abadi and Vice-President Usama al Nujayfi whom he has recently spoken with to confirm this.
Drawing attention to the finalisation of legislative activities in the Iraqi parliament, Davutoglu said the process needs to be completed in an immediate and inclusive manner in order to strengthen social cohesion and discredit ISIS.
Jubouri has stated that the Iraqi people thank and appreciate Turkey’s support for the country in the fields of security and terror.
The Iraqi government wish to gain ground in the fight against terrorism, primarily in the Anbar and Diyala provinces, and move beyond issues such as ethnic and sectarian differences, he added.
Turkey’s National Intelligence Agency (MIT) Chief Hakan Fidan also participated in the meeting.
Tensions between Turkey and Iraq have increased during the tenure of Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al Maliki because of Maliki’s sectarian policy in Iraq and his backing of the Bashar Assad regime in Syria following the Arab Spring uprisings in the Middle East.
Turkish-Iraqi relations worsened when the Maliki government issued an arrest warrant in December 2011 for the leader of Iraq’s Sunni political bloc leader Tariq al Hashimi, a predecessor of Jubouri’s who was accused of running a “hit squad and killing Shiite government officials.”
Hashimi eventually ended up in Turkey, which gave him asylum in April 2012. He has been residing in the country since then.
Maliki announced his resignation in August 2014 after Mosul, the second most populated province in Iraq, was occupied by ISIS and most of the Sunni heartland of the country was overrun by the group.
The US government intensively lobbied against Maliki, citing his incompetence in governing a diverse population and his failure to ensure consensus among different ethnicities and sects, faults which were also implicated as being some of the main causes of the rise of ISIS.
A new government was established in August 2014 by another Shiite politician, Haydar al Abadi, with US support. At the time it was widely speculated that Iran also agreed to the change of government.
Turkey appears to be on better terms with Iraq since Abadi became prime minister with recent talks between the governments of the two countries signal that the relations have moved in a positive direction.