Turkey to open diplomatic mission in Kirkuk, says ambassador to Baghdad

Ankara is set to open a diplomatic mission in the Iraqi Kurdish majority city of Kirkuk, Kurdish NRT news site quoted Turkish ambassador to Baghdad Fatih Yildiz as saying on Saturday.

"In the near future, we will discuss with the Iraqi government about opening a diplomatic mission in Kirkuk,” Yıldız said while visiting Tuz Khurmatu on Saturday.

The ambassador noted that Turkey would also provide Tuz Khurmatu with aid, as well as other Turkmen cities destroyed by Islamic State (ISIS) militants.

Turkey currently has a consulate-general in Erbil and two visa application offices in the cities of Sulaymaniyah and Duhok.

The announcement on the diplomatic mission arrives as Turkey does away with its long-standing opposition to Kurdish control over the oil-rich town of Kirkuk in order to benefit from the oil pumped from the Iraqi city through the Kirkuk-Ceyhan pipeline that runs through southeast Turkey to the Mediterranean. 

Turkey in February pledged $5 billion in loans and investments to redevelop the Iraqi cities of Kirkuk, Mosul, Tal Afar, Baghdad, Irbil and Sulaymaniyah through the Turkish International Cooperation and Development Agency (TIKA).