Turkey's CHP plans an extended trip to Iraq

Main opposition leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu is planning an extended trip to Iraq to both the capital and the country’s Kurdish north, not long after Turkey’s energy minister was prevented from flying directly to Arbil by Baghdad, Hurriyet reports.

“A new invitation came and I accepted. I am planning to go to Baghdad on plane and return to Turkey by highway. I’d like to visit Kirkuk and Arbil and meet with [Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) leader Masoud] Barzani if the conditions are OK,” Republican People’s Party (CHP) head Kılıçdaroğlu told reporters Dec. 7, adding that the invitation has stood for a long time. Responding to a question on whether he would comment on the denial of Energy Minister Taner Yıldız’s inability to fly to Arbil during his visit in Baghdad, Kılıçdaroğlu said he did not know if the issue would come to the table, but that “we always defend our country’s interests everywhere.”

Kılıçdaroğlu said he did not feel comfortable when Yılmaz’s flight to the northern Iraqi city of Arbil was denied by Baghdad, adding that he was surprised by the official’s passive reaction to the slight.

“No Turkish minister’s visit has been denied by either Iraq or any other country throughout the history of the Turkish Republic. I can’t stomach this situation Turkey is experiencing in its foreign policy. I can’t understand how the minister could stomach it,” said Kılıçdaroğlu.

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