ANKARA, Turkey, Oct. 25 (UPI) -- The Turkish government is committed to supporting Iraqi efforts to bring stability to a country plagued by violence, the Turkish president said.
"Strong collaboration with Iraq would benefit not only the two countries but the whole region," Turkish President Abdullah Gul was quoted as saying Friday by Turkish newspaper Today's Zaman. "Turkey will continue supporting Iraq [in its bid] to reach stabilization."
Gul hosted Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari in Ankara. Bilateral ties have soured over claims by Ankara Sunni political leaders were marginalized in Baghdad.
Conflict between members of the Shiite and Sunni communities has been on the rise since December 2011, when U.S. forces left the country. Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, a Shiite, called for the arrest of Sunni Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi shortly after they left. Hashemi is residing in Turkey.
Zebari, nonetheless, said his visit Turkey was emblematic of the "strong political will" to solidify bilateral ties.