Iraqi carrier launches Arbil-Ankara flights
Iraq's flag carrier airline company will start flights between the Turkish capital Ankara and the northern Iraqi city of Arbil on Aug. 31. Flights are scheduled to be twice a week, on Tuesdays and Saturdays, departing from Arbil at 4 p.m. and from Ankara at 6.30 p.m., representatives of Iraqi Airways in Turkey said. In June, the Iraqi airline launched direct flights between Ankara and Iraq's capital Baghdad. Company officials' efforts are also under way to launch flights to new destinations between the two countries. The relationship between Turkey and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in northern Iraq has flourished in the past few years, both politically and economically. Energy cooperation between the two parties, about which the central Iraqi government in Baghdad is uneasy, is particularly significant, but authorities and businesspeople from both sides have boosted their efforts to enhance social cooperation as well. Turkish firms' investments in the region currently amount to more than $700 million, Economy Minister Zafer Caglayan said at the beginning of this year. Exports to Iraq were worth around $11 billion last year. According to the latest reports, a pipeline that will bring Iraqi Kurdish oil to Turkey is on the verge of being completed, and is currently only a few kilometers from the Turkish border.