President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks during the Global Entrepreneurship Congress at Hotel Bomonti in Istanbul, Turkey on April 16, 2018. Photo: AA
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — A high-ranking KRG delegation is taking part in the Global Entrepreneurship Congress (GEC) in Istanbul starting on Monday.
The KRG delegation is headed by Planning Minister Ali Sindi and Abdulsalam Harki, the head of KRG-Turkey relations.
On the sidelines of the congress, Sindi and Turkey’s Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci met and discussed Erbil-Ankara economic ties and improvement mechanisms, the KRG delegation stated.
The Kurdish announcement also added that the KRG delegation has held other meetings with other attendees of the congress.
Included in the KRG delegation were Shirwan Assad Qadir, the deputy planning minister, Zagros Fatah, the general manager of planning ministry projects, and Sirwan Mohammed, the head of the statistics board in the ministry.
Some 3,000 individuals from 170 countries are taking part in the congress that ends end on April 19.
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan gave opening remarks describing his country's 7.4-percent economic growth rate over the past year as second among the Convention on the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries, according to state-run Anadolu Agency.
The president described the country's business enterprises and trade networks as "a success story," urging attending entrepreneurs to trust this.
“Our entrepreneurs also have been able to find markets in third-world countries because they were strong. They provided security to the other side and the other side believed them," said Erdogan.
He said despite the recent events in Iraq and Syria and the failed 2016 coup, Turkey has attracted $180 billion in global capital.
Turkey ranks 17th in the world in gross domestic product at $860 billion.
KRG Planning Minister Ali Sindi (left) and an accompanying delegation meets with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (second-left) in Istanbul on April 16, 2018. Photo: Rudaw
This is the first official KRG delegation to visit Turkey since Kurdistan Region's September 2017 independence referendum, a move strongly opposed by Turkey, in addition to Iraq and Iran and most of the international community.
Turkey has urged for the leaders of regional and federal governments in Iraq to resolve outstanding issues — many of which center on the Kurdistan Region's independent exportation of oil through a pipeline which terminates at Turkey's Ceyhan port.
“The consolidation of relations between Baghdad and Erbil within a single, unified Iraq is in Turkey’s interest,” Ambassador Fatih Yildiz told Anadolu Agency on April 5.
Turkey reopened its airspace to flights from the Kurdistan Region following Iraq lifting the ban, but it says it will not allow flights from Sulaimani, citing security concerns.
Last updated at 2:44 p.m.