Sun, 28 Feb 2021

BAGHDAD, Jan. 18 (Xinhua) -- Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar and Chief of General Staff Yasar Guler on Monday paid a visit to Baghdad to hold talks with top Iraqi leaders aimed at enhancing military cooperation.

A statement by the Iraqi Presidency office said that President Barham Salih met the Turkish top military officials and discussed the relations between the two countries and the means to develop cooperation in various fields.

The two sides stressed respecting the sovereignty of Iraq and the need to prevent using its land as a launching pad for attacks on neighboring countries, the statement said, referring to the activities of the Turkish outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in northern Iraq.

Salih stressed the importance of "easing tensions in the region and relying on constructive dialogue in resolving outstanding issues," as well as strengthening regional cooperation and coordination to continue the war on terrorism, the statement said.

Akar and Guler also met with Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi, also the commander-in-chief of the Iraqi forces, who stressed "Iraq's rejection of any threat or terrorist activity targeting neighboring Turkey, starting from Iraqi territory," the media office of al-Kadhimi said in a separate statement.

Al-Kadhimi stressed the importance of the military cooperation between the two countries, the statement said.

For his part, Akar expressed the Turkish army's readiness to provide support and advice in combating terrorism, training as well as conducting joint exercises, according to the statement.

The two sides also agreed on the importance of addressing terrorist threats in the common border areas, the statement added.

In August 2020, the Iraqi Foreign Ministry canceled the visit of Turkish defense minister to Baghdad in response to the killing of two Iraqi officers and one soldier in a Turkish airstrike in Iraq's northern semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan.

However, the tension between the two countries was eased after the visit of al-Kadhimi to Turkey in December 2020, who made a series of meeting with Turkish officials, including Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

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