Iraq and Turkey to Open New Border Crossings

Turkey and Iraq have agreed to open two new border crossings to boost trade and accommodate increasing traffic between the two neighbors, according to a report from Today’s Zaman.

The issue was discussed during a two-day visit by Iraqi Foreign Affairs Minister Hoshyar Zebari to Ankara on Wednesday. The formal agreement for the opening of the first border gate is expected to be signed towards the end of the year, and it should be in operation by the end of 2012.

It will be located in the Aktepe-Bacuka region to the west of the Harbur [Habur, Ibrahim al-Khalil, Zakho] border gate (pictured), which is currently the only crossing between the two countries.

The second border post is planned for the southeastern province of Şırnak’s Ovaköy district, and its opening will be coordinated with the development of the Turkey-Iraq railway project. Both trains and cars would be able to use the new crossing. Technical delegations from both sides will meet in November to work out the details of both crossings.

Iraq is the second largest importer of goods from Turkey, with exports to Iraq increasing by 25 percent over the same period last year.

Turkish businesses have also expanded their presence in Iraq, exporting $6 billion worth of good to Iraq in 2010, with the volume expected to increase to $20 billion in 2013.

(Source: Today's Zaman)

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