Turkish PM Visits Iraq as Ties Thaw

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Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu met his Iraqi counterpart Haidar al-Abadi in Baghdad Thursday, as long-strained ties between the two countries improve.

Davutoglu was given an official welcome at the main palace in the heavily fortified Green Zone, after which he held talks with Abadi, the Iraqi premier's office said, without providing further details.

His visit follows a trip to Turkey by Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari earlier this month that was aimed at patching up the chilly ties between the two neighbors.

Ankara's decision to aid Iraq's Kurdish region independently export oil has angered Baghdad, which considers it illegal.

And Recep Tayyip Erdogan, now Turkey's president, repeatedly clashed with Abadi's predecessor, Nuri al-Maliki.

The two countries have also disagreed over the protracted Syrian civil war. Shiite majority Iraq is seen to prefer Syrian President Bashar Assad, whose Alawite sect is an offshoot of Shiite Islam. In contrast, Sunni Muslim Turkey backs the rebel groups, mostly Sunni, fighting to overthrow Assad.

Previous attempts to patch up Iraqi-Turkish relations were unsuccessful but, with new governments in both countries, the sides are now more likely to succeed.

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