The central government of Iraq is against hosting the members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) on its soil, the country’s Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq said yesterday, reiterating Baghdad’s stance.
He said that Turkey had to review its stance in this matter. “Iraq has an endless respect for Turkey’s independence and sovereignty. We want these issues to be solved with a mutual respect and understanding. We have recently announced that we are against hosting PKK militants in a Cabinet notice. You say ‘go to territories of another country’ to whom you call terrorists. When you do so, you don’t attribute the necessary respect. Turkey has to review its stance in this matter,” al-Mutlaq said. The Iraqi deputy prime is in Turkey to attend the World Political Forum.
The deputy prime minister also underlined the necessity of direct intergovernmental relations between Turkey and Iraq. “We have to concentrate on direct intergovernmental relations. On both diplomatic and administrational bases, the two countries should have direct relations. But this does not mean that we are dissatisfied with the activities of Turkish firms in northern Iraq. Wherever they are we are happy of the activities of Turkish enterprises,” al-Mutlaq said, referring to improving ties between Ankara and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).
The deputy prime minister said strong ties and dialogue were key components to solving problems between the two countries. “Strong ties between the peoples and the countries are enough to solve some problems that have erupted before,” al-Mutlaq said without giving further details of which problems he was referring to. “If any new problem occurs, dialogue would be enough to solve them,” he added.
Asked what Baghdad’s reaction would be if the KRG were to start a new oil pipeline to Turkey within months, as it was announced by the Iraqi Kurdistan Energy Minister Ashti Hawrami in a conference in London last week, al-Mutlaq said they would try to solve this issue with dialogue as well. “Of course we would react but with dialogue channels,” he told the Hürriyet Daily News.
The Iraqi politician said that they were set to host a big business meeting to which they would invite Turkish businessmen and discuss the investments and stressed that Iraq’s economy shouldn’t only depend on natural resources and highlighted the necessity of infrastructure investments into the country.