As stipulated in the founding document of the High Level Strategic Cooperation Council, Turkey and Iraq, two neighboring countries with strong social bonds of common history, culture and brotherly relations, share the same ideals in their regional objectives which are the promotion of peace, stability, freedom, democracy, prosperity and enhanced mechanisms of dialogue for increased economic cooperation and political coordination. Furthermore, the challenges and the opportunities they face in our region are similar and thus require their concerted efforts.

This understanding is the basis behind the commitment of Turkey and Iraq to developing a long term Strategic Partnership with the aim of enhancing solidarity between Turkish and Iraqi peoples, on the basis of mutual respect for national sovereignty.

The High Level Strategic Cooperation Council provides the basis for enhancement of the relations between the two countries in every field.

The common will and commitment of the two countries in furthering their relations has provided the necessary impetus for the Cooperation Council mechanism to become a success story shortly after its establishment. One year after its establishment in 2008, the Cooperation Council held its first meeting in Baghdad in October 2009, co-chaired by the Prime Ministers of the two countries, H.E. Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and H.E. Mr. Nouri El Maliki, during which 48 Memoranda of Understanding that cover a wide range of issues were signed.

Turkey and Iraq strongly believe that, as two democratic countries, their cooperation is also important for the stability and security of their region. The success of the High Level Strategic Cooperation Council mechanism between Turkey and Iraq, will not only benefit them as the two sides of the process, but will have positive impact on the security, prosperity, democratic development and stability of the Middle East region as a whole.

In order to proceed forward, the two countries have decided to hold a technical meeting to prepare the groundwork for the second meeting of the High Level Strategic Cooperation Council to be headed by the Prime Ministers of the two countries.

Hence, the preparatory meeting coordinated by the Undersecretaries of the Foreign Ministries of Turkey and Iraq was held in Ankara on 11 October 2011. At this meeting, a joint assessment of the current situation with regard to ratification and implementation of the Memoranda of Understanding signed in Baghdad was made.

The two delegations have also agreed:

• That the presence of the PKK terrorist organization in Iraq is against the Iraqi constitution. Iraqi side reaffirmed the determination of the Prime Minister of the Republic of Iraq to eliminate PKK and all other terrorist organizations’ presence in Iraq. Both countries will enhance their cooperation in their struggle against terrorism in accordance with international law,

• To prepare a bilateral agreement on opening new border gates along the Turkish-Iraqi frontier that will be ready for signature before the next meeting of the High Level Strategic Cooperation Council,

• To build a third bridge at the Habur/İbrahim Halil border crossing and to hold a technical committee meeting to that end on 2-3 November 2011.

• To address water issues and to cooperate within that context in technical committees. In this regard, they decided to have technical meetings for exchange of experience, data and information without any prejudice to the work within the existing trilateral cooperation framework between Turkey, Iraq and Syria. They will also enhance their technical cooperation in order to improve Iraq’s water infrastructure for better and efficient water management, as well as engaging in a more constructive dialogue for addressing the social and media dimensions of the issue, thus preventing misperceptions about their respective positions.

Taking into account the exchange of views in the preparatory meeting, the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Turkey and Iraq have agreed on the following:

• To hold the second meeting of the High Level Strategic Cooperation Council headed by the Prime Ministers of the two countries in Istanbul before the end of 2011,

• To follow up and complete the ratification processes of outstanding Memoranda of Understanding signed in 2009, as soon as possible,

• To draw the attention of the relevant ministries and institutions in both countries to identify and prepare proposals on additional areas of cooperation,

• To prepare proposals for the agenda of and the participation at the next Prime Ministerial meeting of the Cooperation Council.