Sevil Erkuş - Hürriyet / Ankara, July 15 () - Turkey has pledged to train the Iraqi police force at a venue located in Turkish territory, but also called on Baghdad to restructure its army to more effectively fight against the threat posed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
“We will conduct the training of Iraqi police in Turkey,” Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said at a July 14 press conference in Ankara with Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari.
He vowed that Turkey would continue the training and equipping as long as the restructuring of the Iraqi army continues.
Turkey has trained more than 1,600 Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga forces and more than 1,500 national guards in Mosul, along with providing with military equipment to Baghdad, Çavuşoğlu stated, adding that some 200,000 Iraqis are currently hosted in Turkey, while 40,000 are being sheltered in three Turkish camps on Iraqi soil.
“Our expectation is for the Iraqi army to be restructured so that it will be able to maintain the security of the country. Shia militias and other groups that are conducting this struggle against Daesh are not efficient enough,” he said, using the Arabic acronym for ISIL.
Al-Jaafari, for his part, renewed Baghdad’s pledge to enhance existing cooperation with Turkey, including in the fight against ISIL.
He was visiting Turkey along with the Iraqi minister for water affairs, who met with his Turkish counterpart to discuss the transnational water resources issue, which has been in stalemate for years after a trilateral mechanism between Turkey, Syria.
Agriculture in Iraq has been negatively influenced due to lack of water, al-Jaafari said, adding that positive steps were being taken on the issue.
“Transnational water is an important link between Turkey and Iraq. We have always had cooperation on water and are determined to enhance this cooperation,” Çavuşoğlu said.
Four accords have been signed on the subject of the Tigris and Euphrates water sources over the past 25 years.
According to a Protocol of Economic Cooperation signed by Turkey and Syria in 1987, Ankara agreed to allow 500 cubic meters of water to flow into Syria per second.
A Turkish-Syrian Strategic Cooperation Council accord signed in 2009 aimed to increase the quality of water as well as the number of shared water pumping stations and dams.
In the same year, Turkey and Iraq signed an accord for the sharing of hydrological and meteorological information as well as cooperation between water resource experts.