Reciprocal technical visits will soon begin between Turkey and Iraq with a view to opening a new border crossing linking the two countries, according to Turkish Ambassador to Iraq Fatih Yildiz.
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Speaking to Anadolu Agency on Monday, Yildiz said the new crossing would stimulate cross-border commercial activity.
According to the ambassador, the total trade volume between the two neighbors stood at more than $10 million in 2017.
“But now we’re taking steps to reestablish the trade peak that existed during 2012 and 2013,” he said.
Yildiz described 2017 as a “tough year” due to Iraq’s bloody fight against the Daesh terrorist group and an ill-fated attempt by northern Iraq’s Kurdish region to declare independence from Baghdad.
“But the country has since recovered from the terrorist scourge, while efforts by the north [i.e., the Kurdish region] to secede proved unsuccessful,” he said.
“The Daesh presence and [secessionist] efforts in the north both adversely impacted our trade relations,” Yildiz asserted.
“But commercial ties are expected to improve as relations between Erbil and Baghdad pick up again, which will in turn lead to new markets for Turkish traders,” he added.
The planned Ovaköy Border Gate will directly link Turkey to Baghdad via a 570-kilometer highway.