In an exclusive interview with Anadolu Agency, Ibrahim al-Jaafari recalled that in 2014-2015 the trade turnover between Iraq and Turkey amounted to $18 billion. The volume fell to $12 billion recently.

Jaafari said he hoped the volume would return to the previous level and even surpass it, blaming terrorism in the country for the reduction in trade.

"Now we are seeking to increase investments from Turkey and other countries, because we believe that economic cooperation helps bridge gaps between the countries.

"Turkey is actively involved in the reconstruction of Iraq's economy. There are a lot of Turkish companies in Iraq."

He paid tribute to 300 employees of Turkish companies who lost their lives in terrorist attacks in Iraq.

The country has been rocked by frequent bombings by Daesh terrorists since 2014.

KRG referendum

Speaking about last year's illegitimate referendum by the Kurdish Regional Government in northern Iraq, he said, they must abide by the Iraqi Constitution, which considers all regions equal and declares Baghdad as the national capital.

"All processes in the country, including in this region, must go through the center, through Baghdad. No one can violate the sovereignty of Iraq. All regions are governed from Baghdad as the capital of Iraq," he said.

He said Iraq was developing bilateral relations with several countries without interfering in their internal affairs.

"We have good relations with Iran and Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Syria, and we could try to help them better understand the concerns of each other," Jaafari said.

At the same time, the minister stressed that the sovereignty of Iraq is a "red line" in building relations with countries.

"We can build good relations with any country, including the United States. But there is a red line – the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Iraq. The line no one is allowed to step on," he added.

Commenting on Iraq's possible purchase of S-400 anti-aircraft missile systems from Russia, Jaafari said it had not been finalized.

He redirected a question on the supply of American tanks to the Iraqi Defense Ministry.

"The Defense Ministry can better answer this question, I have no details. We work with all states of the world, but on the basis of respect for the sovereignty of each state," he said.

The minister also recalled that Iraq had experienced four wars -- three in the Persian Gulf and one against terrorism. Therefore, it is crucial for the country to strengthen its defense capability to protect against external threats, he concluded.