Leaders hold press conference

Al-Sudani and Turkey’s Erdogan sign 26 agreements during bilateral meetings in Baghdad

BAGHDAD — Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shiaa’ Al-Sudani and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan convened at Baghdad Palace in the Iraqi capital on Thursday for high-level talks, culminating in the signing of 26 memoranda of understanding encompassing water management, economic cooperation, military training, health sciences, and more. The agreements are set to reshape Iraqi-Turkish relations and promote regional stability.

The discussions covered a number of strategic initiatives including economic integration, security cooperation, and cultural exchange. A highlight of the session was the agreement on a 10-year plan to overhaul Iraq’s irrigation infrastructure, aimed at improving the country’s water allocation—a critical issue for the arid region.

“The security of Turkey and Iraq is inseparable; cooperation between us is essential for an ideal bilateral relationship,” Al-Sudani emphasized, reflecting on the multifaceted approach both nations are adopting to secure their interests.

In a significant move, Iraq and Turkey, along with Qatar and the UAE, signed a pivotal quadrilateral memorandum of understanding outlining cooperation on the Development Road Project.

“This project will transcend mere logistical enhancements to become a bridge linking the peoples and cultures of the region,” Al-Sudani said, underscoring the initiative’s broader geopolitical and cultural implications.

On the security front, the leaders resolved to intensify efforts to combat terrorism and prevent their territories from being staging grounds for aggression, including through strategic military collaborations and joint counter-terrorism operations.

Cultural and social advancements were also on the agenda, with agreements to boost educational ties through university exchanges, the construction of new educational facilities, and expanded cultural programs.

President Erdogan highlighted the economic dimensions of their partnership, noting, “The trade volume between Iraq and Turkey has increased to $20 billion. We are committed to enhancing cooperation that considers mutual interests, particularly in managing the shared water resources that affect both our countries.”

The talks also covered regional politics, addressing the ongoing conflicts in Gaza. Both leaders agreed on the importance of stabilizing the region and advocated for the establishment of a Palestinian state as a step towards peace.