Erdoğan plans to visit Arbil during next week’s Iraq visit

March 23, 2011, Wednesday/ 17:52:00/ TODAY'S ZAMAN

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will pay a two-day official visit to neighboring Iraq, during which he plans to visit Arbil, the capital of the de facto autonomous Kurdistan region, in addition to Baghdad.

“We will go to the central [Baghdad], after going to the central we’ll go to the North, that is to say to Arbil; this is our current plan. But the program has not yet been finalized. Also, the Foreign Ministry is working,” Erdoğan told reporters on Tuesday in response to a question. The visit will kick off on Monday. Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu had visited Iraq in January during which he will held preparatory talks with Iraqi officials for Erdoğan’s visit to the same country. In November 2009, Davutoğlu met with top Kurdish officials in a landmark visit to Arbil. Davutoğlu’s visit to Arbil, the first by a Turkish foreign minister, has been considered as a sign that a taboo until recently maintained in Turkish foreign policy is no longer in place.

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