ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – Ankara hoped to secure a leading role in rebuilding Iraqi cities and towns that faced immense infrastructural destruction during the past three years’ war with the Islamic State (IS) group there, Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Simsek, a Kurd, said on Wednesday.
Simsek was addressing an economic forum on commerce with Iraq in the southern city of Gaziantep, a regional hub for food, clothing and electronic products exported to neighboring countries.
He also offered to help Iraq develop its industry and production, reported Kurdistan 24’s Turkish language website.
Turkey’s construction industry is one of the strongest and most competitive in Europe and the Middle East, maintaining a significant value in driving domestic growth, accounting for over ten percent of annual GDP along with real estate sector.
Iraq’s second largest city Mosul, notably its old neighborhoods on the western bank of the River Tigris saw the biggest destruction in the October 2016 when a nine months battle was launched by the Baghdad government forces to capture it from the IS with the backing of US-led Coalition and Kurdistan Region’s Peshmerga forces.
Further south, in Salahaddin and Anbar provinces, Tikrit, Ramadi, and Fallujah faced a similar fate during the war in which thousands of Coalition airstrikes every day of the conflict helped Iraqis reclaim territory they lost to the militants in mid-2014.