Recep Tayyip Erdogan has became the first Turkish prime minister to visit the Kurdish region of Iraq.
The trip, in which he opened a new Turkish-built airport, is rich in significance given Turkey’s own history of conflict with Kurdish rebels.
His host, Iraqi Kurdish regional President Masoud Barzani, praised Erdogan’s decision to come as “brave.”
“We believe your visit will build very strong bridges between Turkey and our country and our region,” he said, welcoming Erdogan to Arbil.
Amid decades of conflict with its own Kurdish minority, Turkey’s foreign policy was long marked by deep suspicion of Iraq’s Kurdish autonomous region.
It has previously accused leaders there of doing too little to close bases used by Kurdish separatists operating on the Iraqi side of the border. These disputes have, however, eased in recent years.