Turkey plans to create a joint economic zone with Iraq

Today’s Zaman – Kursad Tuzmen ‘The state minister for foreign trade’, accompanied by a group of businessmen and Turkey's special envoy to Iraq, arrived yesterday in the Iraqi capital for talks with senior officials in preparation for a landmark official visit expected to be paid to Baghdad by the Turkish premier. "This time, we have kept this visit of the Turkish delegation narrower. Next time, we will try to come with a delegation of 400-500 businessmen, as we did prior to 2003. You know that I do when I make promises. I've noticed that things are gradually getting better in Iraq. It is our wish that Iraq recovers from the crisis by preserving its territorial integrity and sovereignty," Kursad Tuzmen was quoted as saying by the Anatolia news agency. "I believe that we can create a joint economic zone at the Turkish-Iraqi border. Such a zone would be a good role model to other countries. I want to remind that the foundation of the European Union was laid down at a time when Europe was going through an economic crisis," the minister also said, noting that despite negative conditions, the trade volume between Turkey and Iraq is expected to reach $20 billion by 2010.