By Meryem Goktas and Sena Guler
A second border gate between Turkey and Iraq will benefit both countries, Turkey’s president said on Tuesday.
Speaking at a joint news conference with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi in the capital Ankara, Recep Tayyip Erdogan said: “The border gate, which is set to open, will be beneficial for our country and Iraq.”
The president said both sides also discussed the reopening of consulates in Mosul and Basra.
He praised the existing bilateral cooperation, adding that the two countries agreed to boost mutual trade.
The two sides also discussed other issues, including water, electricity, health, industry, investment, the military, security, economy, and culture, Erdogan said.
On Iraq’s elections this May, Erdogan said Turkey supports Iraq’s sovereignty and political unity.
He said Turkey stands with Iraq without any discrimination based on religion or language.
Erdogan said they also discussed the fight against the terror groups Daesh and the PKK.
"We’re determined to wipe out these organizations and their extensions from our region," he said.
"We will continue together with Iraq to fight terror groups."
Water and energy
Erdogan said both countries will work to strengthen their ties in every area, and they had detailed talks about Iraq’s water and energy issues.
He added that the proper ministries were assigned and they would see what steps should be taken.
“We know what steps should be taken on water issues. But we also had an opportunity to talk about what steps we can take on energy,” he added.
Iraq’s al-Abadi, for his part, praised bilateral ties and voiced support for Turkey.
“Iraq stands with Turkey on the Turkish currency issue. We will support Turkey in all measures it takes in this regard,” he said.
The premier said that the two countries share the same ideas on border security.
“We do not want any [terrorist] organization nesting in Iraq’s territory and we are against it."
In recent weeks, Iraq’s southern provinces have been rocked by demonstrations -- which have since spread to the capital Baghdad -- to protest poor public services, high unemployment, and chronic power shortages.
Following weeks of protests, al-Abadi suspended his electricity minister last month.
For years, Iraqis have complained about the deteriorating condition of public utilities, including electricity and water, and a chronic lack of job opportunities in oil-rich parts of the country.