Iraq seeks investment from Turkey

ANKARA -Iraq’s President Jalal Talabani yesterday urged Turkish businesses to invest massively in Iraq.

By (AFP)

Published: Sun 9 Mar 2008, 9:10 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 1:18 PM

“Our main goal with this visit is to have a strategic, prolonged relation(ship) with Turkey on all levels: economic, trade, oil, political, culture, everything,” Talabani told Turkish business leaders on his first trip to Turkey as head of state.

The Iraqi president also cited “progress” in the economy of his country, saying his finance minister Bayan Jabr Solagh ”had in his hand more than $25 billion (16.2 billion euros) for investment and for strategic projects.”

Meanwhile, Turkey’s deputy minister for foreign trade, Kursda Tuzmen, said after talks with Iraq’s oil minister, Hussein Shahristani, that the two neighbours would conclude “an agreement for a stronger economic partnership” by the end of May.

The accord would aim “to integrate the economies of the two countries as much as possible to form a common zone of prosperity,” he said.

“Turkey’s priority is to invest in the development of Iraqi gas fields, for import and transit to Europe,” he said.

Turkish Energy Minister Hilmi Guler, who also met Shahristani, spoke of plans to build a second pipeline from Iraq’s oil centre of Kirkuk to Yumurtalik in southern Turkey.

The Iraqi minister for his part also urged Turkey to invest in his country’s energy sector, saying that “Iraq can be a reliable supplier for Turkey.”

Turkish exports to Iraq amounted to $2.82 billion last year, while Iraqi imports only came to $650 million, according to Turkish government statistics.

Turkish businesses in Iraq, largely centred around the construction sector, have amassed some $4.2 billion in contracts since 2003.

Tuzmen predicted that two-way trade would total $6 billion this year and said the target was $20 billion by 2010.

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