Iraq suspends on-border visa issuing to Turkish citizens

Iraq will no longer issue visas at border crossings for Turkish citizens wanting to visit Iraq, accusing the country of violating a 2009 deal that eased the visa process for citizens of both countries, according to a statement from the Iraqi foreign ministry.
“Iraq had signed a consular memorandum of understanding with the Turkish Republic in 2009, stipulating that the passengers would obtain visa entry at border crossings without going to the relevant embassy or consulate for the purpose of facilitation of traffic for the nationals of both countries,” reads the statement.
“However, the Turkish side had stopped adhering to the memorandum. Therefore, [Iraqi] government decided to suspend it as well,” it adds.
The ministry says that they have informed the Turkish government about the suspension, and have begun talks to resume the service.
Turkey has not issued a statement on the suspension yet.
This comes days after Turkey opened a new center in Mosul for the issuing of visas to Iraqis seeking to travel to the neighbouring country.
Turkey-Iraq trade volume has stood at around $10 billion in recent years, but top Turkish officials have expressed their willingness to double this amount in recent meetings between the two countries. However, traffic between Iraq and Turkey is currently limited due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
Most trade between the two countries moves through the Ibrahim Khalil border crossing, connecting Turkey to the Kurdistan Region’s Duhok province.
Tensions between the two countries have risen after Turkey began aerial and ground operations in the Kurdistan Region and disputed territories of Iraq in mid-June. Iraq’s foreign ministry summoned Turkey’s ambassador in Baghdad, Fatih Yildiz, over the operations, saying they violate Iraqi sovereignty.

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