Turkey, Iraq to renew "chilled" ties
Turkey's Foreign Minister arrived in Iraq Sunday to meet with top officials in Baghdad to renew "chilled" ties between the two countries, according to Agence France-Presse.
Ahmet Davutoglu, Turkey's FM said that the visit would focus on promoting a "fresh start" in relations between Ankara and Baghdad. Ties between the two nations have been hampered by ideological clashes on the war in Syria as well as Turkey's relations with Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region.
A Turkish official told AFP on the condition of anonymity that the two foreign ministers "are going to discuss a fresh start to relations and will mostly discuss bilateral issues, what is happening in the region, and Syria."
The visit is scheduled to last for two days, with Davutoglu scheduled to meet with his counterpart Hoshyar Zebari, Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki as well as several other officials from Baghdad and the Shiite holy cities of Najaf and Karbala.
Ties between Iraq and Turkey have been predominantly severed over disagreements on how to deal with the situation in Syria: Turkey has largely backed opposition groups, while Iraq has said that it will maintain neutral. Ankara also gave refuge to former Iraqi vice president Tareq al-Hashemi in early 2012 and proposed energy deals between Ankara and the Kurdish region of northern Iraq have heightened tensions further between the two countries.
While reflecting on Davutoglu's arrival, Maliki's spokesman Ali al-Mussawi said that the proposed visit "marks a resumption of normal relations, and an end to tensions. The two countries have joint interests, history and challenges and we hope relations will return to their normal state."