Turkey and Iraq agree to strenghten ties, intensify economic relations .hurriyet2008-detailbox-newslink { font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size:13px; font-weight:bold; text-decoration:none; color:#000000;} .hurriyet2008-detailbox-newslink:hover { font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size:13px; font-weight:bold; text-decoration:underline; color:#990000;} Turkey and Iraq intensify their bilateral ties as the two countries agreed to cooperate on several economic issues during Iraqi prime minister's Ankara visit this week.

The economy issue, in addition to the fight against the terror organization PKK, was high on the agenda during the Turkey visit of Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, who was accompanied by his ministers of trade, electricity, transportation and public works.

Iraqi and Turkish officials agreed to establish a free trade zone at the Turkish-Iraqi border during their meetings in Ankara.

Turkey and Iraq also agreed to open a second border gate in order to meet the growing demand of transportation between the two countries.

Currently all road transportation between the two countries is made through Habur border gate, which is the only border gate along the Turkey-Iraqi border.

Turkish private companies will meet the electricity demand of Iraq, sources also told hurriyet.com.tr. According to the deal, a refinery and power station will be established in the planned free zone in order to meet the electricity and oil products needs of Iraq.

Turkish companies will also construct transportation infrastructure in Iraq. Iraqi and Turkish companies will also be encouraged to establish partnerships in the fields of finance and banking.

The sides agreed to enhance the capacity of Kirkuk-Yunurtalik oil pipeline between Turkey and Iraq, and to carry Iraqi natural gas to international markets via Turkey.

Officials from the Iraqi delegation also said their country planned to purchase 50 locomotive engine and carriage sets from Turkey, and to increase cooperation in railway projects.