Turkish President Erdogan to Visit Iraq for Talks on Water, Oil, and Security

Turkish President Erdogan's visit to Iraq aims to address critical issues like water management, trade, and security cooperation, with potential to strengthen regional stability and development.

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Momen Zellmi
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Turkish President Erdogan to Visit Iraq for Talks on Water, Oil, and Security

Turkish President Erdogan to Visit Iraq for Talks on Water, Oil, and Security

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is scheduled to visit Iraq on Monday for his first state visit there in years. The main topics on the agenda include water, oil, and regional security issues, including cooperation against the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

During the visit, Erdogan is expected to meet with Iraqi Prime Minister Mohamed Shia al-Sudani and President Abdel Latif Rashid in Baghdad, as well as officials in Arbil, the capital of northern Iraq's autonomous Kurdistan Region. The two sides are expected to sign several memoranda of understanding, including a "strategic framework agreement" on security, economy, and development.

Water sharing and the resumption of Iraqi oil exports through Turkey are major points of contention that are likely to be addressed. Erdogan has acknowledged the water issue as one of the most important agenda items and stated that they are working to resolve it. Iraq has complained that Turkey has reduced the flow of water in the shared Tigris and Euphrates rivers, contributing to water shortages.

Regional security, particularly efforts to "safeguard the borders" between Iraq and Turkey and combat the PKK's presence in Iraq, is also a key focus of the visit. The Iraqi National Security Council has recently designated the PKK as an outlawed organization, and the group will be granted "refugee" status under UN supervision in Iraq, with no party or political activities allowed.

Economic cooperation, including Turkish companies' investments in Iraq and the Development Road project connecting the Persian Gulf to Turkey, will also be discussed. The Development Road project is considered the cornerstone of Erdogan's visit, with significant agreements expected to be made in this regard.

Why this matters: Erdogan's visit to Iraq marks a significant diplomatic milestone, as it addresses critical issues like water management, trade, and security cooperation between the two countries. The agreements and discussions during the visit have the potential to strengthen regional stability, prosperity, and development, while also institutionalizing relations between Turkey and Iraq.

Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan stated that the goal is to establish a relationship that promotes regional stability, prosperity, and development, and to institutionalize the relations between the two countries. He highlighted Turkey's readiness to provide support for the development of key sectors in Iraq, such as irrigation, education, health, infrastructure, trade, and energy. The visit follows up on previous high-level meetings in March, where the two sides discussed stronger cooperation to fight terrorism and efforts to boost trade and joint initiatives in various areas.

Key Takeaways

  • Erdogan's first state visit to Iraq in years to discuss water, oil, and security
  • Agreements expected on security, economy, and development between Turkey and Iraq
  • Water sharing and resumption of Iraqi oil exports through Turkey are key issues
  • Combating PKK presence in Iraq is a priority, with PKK granted "refugee" status
  • Erdogan's visit aims to strengthen regional stability, prosperity, and development