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Will Turkey, Iraq open new chapter in ties?

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim’s visit to Iraq last week has signaled a willingness to improve relations between the two countries after a period of intense animosity.
Iraqi President Fuad Masum (R) meets with Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim (L) at the presidential palace in Baghdad on January 7, 2017.
Iraq and Turkey's prime ministers held talks in Baghdad which both said reflected progress in resolving a bitter row over the presence of Turkish troops in northern Iraq. / AFP / POOL / KHALID AL-MOUSILY        (Photo credit should read KHALID AL-MOUSILY/AFP/Getty Images)

Prime Minister Binali Yildirim’s visit to Iraq last week set a new tone in the ties between the two countries, which have been highly tense in recent months. Following his talks with Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi in Baghdad, Yildirim met with Iraqi Kurdistan President Massoud Barzani in Erbil. His contacts in Erbil reflected a desire to maintain a balance between the central Iraqi government and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) to the benefit of the three parties.

Prior to traveling to Baghdad, Yildirim underscored that this visit was part of his policy of “increasing the number of Turkey’s friends and reducing the number of its enemies.” He pointed to the recently improved ties with Israel and Russia as examples of Ankara’s new approach.

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