Ankara and Baghdad are waiting to sign a memorandum of understanding regarding the Turkish Cooperation and Development Agency’s (TİKA) future role in the neighboring country after Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) is removed from Iraq.
A delegation from TİKA accompanied Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım on a visit to Baghdad on Jan. 7 in a bid to sign a memorandum of understanding which will pave the way for cooperation on the rehabilitation of Mosul in the event that an offensive successively removes ISIL from the area. However, the parties could not sign the document due to two obstacles in Iraqi law.
TİKA asked for diplomatic immunity for its personnel that will work in Iraq, but Baghdad said they could not provide visa immunity according to the laws in the country, diplomatic sources told the Hürriyet Daily News. Ankara also wants exemption for customs on future TİKA projects.
The agency has already providing support to northern Iraq. TİKA has constructed schools and delivered agricultural equipment for Turkmens in Iraq and provided logistics for displaced persons in camps that were set up for those fleeing from ISIL. The agency has also provided equipment for 14 schools controlled by the Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government. The agency also constructed a hospital in Baghdad in 2011.
Yıldırım paid a two-day visit to Iraq on Jan. 7-8 to resolve long-standing trouble in bilateral ties over the Turkish military’s presence in the Bashiqa region. Yıldırım met Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and representatives of state institutions in separate meetings during the visit, which aimed to enhance bilateral cooperation.