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Will Turkish defense minister’s Iraq visit yield concrete results?

Although Turkey's defense minister seems to be satisfied with the outcome of his recent visit to Baghdad and Erbil, there are several impediments to Turkey's security demands.
Turkish National Defence Minister Hulusi Akar gives a press conference at the ministry in Ankara on January 13, 2021. (Photo by Arif AKDOGAN / POOL / AFP) (Photo by ARIF AKDOGAN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar’s recent visit to Iraq has seen plenty of verbal agreements on an array of issues Ankara shares with the central Iraqi government and Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). Yet whether these agreements would translate into concrete steps remains to be seen. 

Following Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi’s visit to Turkey Dec. 17, 2020, Akar paid a high-profile visit to Baghdad and Iraqi Kurdistan on Jan 18-20. He was accompanied by a large Turkish delegation including Chief of Staff of the Turkish armed forces Yasar Guler. In Baghdad, the delegation headed by Akar met with the Iraqi minister of defense and minister of interior along with President Barham Salih and Kadhimi. In Erbil, Akar held separate meetings with KRG President Nechirvan Barzani, Prime Minister Masrour Barzani and former President Massoud Barzani, who is also leader of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), the dominant political force in Iraqi Kurdistan. The delegation also paid a visit to the office of the Iraqi Turkmen Front in Erbil. 

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