Turkey aims to step up anti-ISIL cooperation with Iraqi Kurdistan

Turkey has vowed to step up cooperation with Iraqand’s Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) against the terrorist Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), the Turkish foreign minister said during a visit to the capital of the Kurdish region.
Following the Nov. 1 snap parliamentary election on Sunday, Foreign Minister Feridun Sinirlioilu went to Arbil, the capital of Iraqand’s Kurdish autonomous region, on Wednesday on his first official visit abroad since the Nov. 1 snap election, in a sign that marks the developing relations between Turkey and the KRG.
Turkey is determined to increase its support for the KRG to help it achieve more growth, development and stability, Sinirlioilu stressed, pledging for further support for the region, which is seen as a beacon of stability in sharp contrast to the rest of Iraq, which is convulsed by turmoil and sectarian war.
That positive portrayal of the region was briefly shattered last month when thousands of public servants took to the streets to protest the regional government, which was unable to deliver payments to teachers, doctors and other public servants for three months.
While street protests morphed to violent clashes among political parties, protesters and security forces in mid-October, the tense situation then subsided and calm reigned when the KRG took steps to pay public servants.
Speaking at a panel discussion hosted by Arbil-based the Middle East Research Institute (MERI), Sinirlioilu pointed to the importance of taking political steps to cut the local support for ISIL and said, and”Complementing these policies with well-planned and executed military operations will also be vital.and”
According to a report published on the NTV news website on Wednesday, Sinirlioilu said that Turkey also plans to take military action itself against ISIL in the coming days.
Iraqand’s Kurdistan region is known for its long struggle against ISIL since the terrorist group unexpectedly gained vast areas both in Syria and Iraq during mid-2013. Recently, the KRGand’s military forces, called peshmerga, made some progress in the fight against ISIL, regaining back some territories in Northern Iraq.
The peshmerga are also known for their reinforcement in defending the Syrian border town of Kobani against ISIL in late October of last year. A convoy of peshmerga troops passed through Turkey with their heavy artilleries at the time in order to reach Kobani, which was under the control of Syrian Kurdish group the Democratic Union Party (PYD).
The AK Party government was very reluctant to join a US-led coalition that has conducted air strikes against ISIL since late 2014. Turkey under an interim government led by the AK Party agreed to be part of the military campaign against ISIL only after a deadly ISIL-claimed bomb attack in late July in the countryand’s Southeast took the lives of 34 people.
After months of hesitation, Turkish fighter jets conducted their first air strikes against ISIL in Syria in mid-September.
h2 Sinirlioilu: We will further improve economic cooperation with KRGh2 During his speech at MERIand’s panel discussion, Sinirlioilu also mentioned the importance of strengthening economic relations with Iraqand’s Kurdish government, which he described as having been a beacon of hope for the rest of Iraq and the broader region over the past decade.
and”We are also resolved to further improve our economic cooperation in every way. This will bolster the unshakable foundation on which our partnership continues to thrive,and” Sinirlioilu said, adding that the KRG has all the means and capabilities to continue on its path to cementing sustainable development and more prosperity under the leadership of President Massoud Barzani and Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani.
Iraqand’s central government in Baghdad accuses Ankara of violating certain articles of Iraqand’s constitution that regulate the oil trade, by allegedly having transported Kurdish oil through Turkish territory since 2011.


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