SULAIMANI (ESTA) — Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi arrived in Ankara to meet with senior Turkish officials on Thursday, according to his office.
Kadhimi’s office said in a tweet that the prime minister would discuss strengthening bilateral ties and cooperation between Iraq and Turkey during his official visit.
He would also discuss a number of other files and issues of common concern, his office tweeted.
Turkish Presidency said in a statement on Wednesday that Kadhimi’s visit was at the request of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
“Steps to be taken to enhance cooperation between the two countries particularly related to the fight against terror, reconstruction of Iraq, trade and energy will be discussed and the bilateral relations will be addressed in depth,” the Turkish presidency said.
Last week, Iraqi Ambassador to Turkey Hassan Janabi said Kadhimi and senior Turkish officials would discuss bilateral relations, Turkey’s concern over the presence of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in northern Iraq, Sinjar agreement between Erbil and Baghdad and trade exchange between both countries.
He further said Kadhimi would also discuss the issue of water between Iraq and Turkey during his visit in Ankara.
Iraq secures its water need from the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, stemming from Turkey, which has been trying to use the rivers’ water to generate electric power for years. Ankara has built Ilisu dam in 2006 and made it operational in 2018.
The dam limited the flow of water to Iraq, which exacerbated fear in Mesopotamia of an acute water shortage and an incapacity to meet the population’s daily and agricultural needs.
Iraq does not have a water agreement with Turkey, but for decades Baghdad has signed a number of protocols on the flow of water to its territories.
Kadhimi’s cabinet is addressing the water issue with great attention, but it faces skepticism in its ability to conclude a water sharing agreement with Turkey.
*This story was updated at 10:53 a.m. EBL time