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8/30/04 - TURKEY-IRAQ COOPERATION - 2004-08-31

Iraq's interim president Ghazi al-Yawer recently visited Turkey. Several top Iraqi officials, including Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari and Trade Minister Mohammed Mustafa al-Ciburi, were part of the delegation. Turkish President Ahmet Necdet Sezer met with the Iraqi president to discuss security, sharing water resources, and the opening of a Turkish consulate in Mosul. “We had very productive discussions,” said Mr. al-Yawer.

Trade was another important topic of discussion. Turkish Trade Minister Kursad Tuzmen said that trade between Iraq and Turkey is currently around two-billion dollars a year and that “around one-thousand Turkish businessmen continue working in Iraq.” Mr. Tuzmen said Turkey and Iraq hope to increase their trade to some five-billion dollars next year. “We support Iraq's integration with the world. We hope [our] brother Iraqi nation [will] overcome these troublesome days in the shortest possible time,” he said.

President al-Yawer expressed Iraq's support for Turkey's membership in the European Union. “Turkey deserves it,” he said. He added that Turkey’s “membership will be for the benefit of our region.”

President George W. Bush says the U.S. remains committed to helping build a stable, free, and democratic Iraq:

“When we acted to protect our own security, we promised to help deliver them from tyranny, to restore their sovereignty, and to help them on the path to liberty. And when America gives its word, America will keep its word.”

Turkey's success in building a prosperous and democratic society makes it an important country for the region. “When I look at Turkey,” said Iraqi President al-Yawer, “I see that democracy contributes to development of countries.”