Relations between Turkey and Iraq

Restoring lasting stability and security in Iraq is critically important for Turkey. In this respect, Turkey expects Iraq to attain a federal and democratic system on the basis of fair power and revenue sharing with inclusive policies as envisaged in the Iraqi constitution, in order to fully realize its sovereignty and unity within its borders and to eliminate terrorist organizations in its soil which threatens Turkey.

Turkey strongly supports territorial integrity and political unity of Iraq. Turkey believes that, every decision regarding the future of Iraq should be taken by obtaining the consent of all segments of the Iraqi society through dialogue and conciliation. Acts and attitudes violating the constitution and rule of law in Iraq should definitely be avoided. With this understanding, since the very beginning of the process, Turkey opposed the referendum held in the KRG on 25 September 2017. Following the referendum, in order to preserve sovereignty, territorial integrity and political unity of Iraq, Turkey acted in close cooperation with the Iraqi Government.

DEASH terrorist organization invaded almost 1/3 of Iraqi territories in 2014. As a member of the Global Coalition, Turkey strongly supported Iraq in its fight against DEASH. On 9 December 2017, the Iraqi Prime Minister Abadi announced the military victory against DEASH. In the post DEASH period, Turkey is planning to contribute to the reconstruction of the areas liberated from DEASH, return of the internally displaced persons and national reconciliation efforts in Iraq. With this understanding, Turkey announced 5 billion USD credit and 50 million USD project based assistance at the Kuwait Conference for the Reconstruction of Iraq that was held in February 2018.

“High Level Strategic Cooperation Council (HLSC)” established by Turkey and Iraq in 2008 and in the first HLSC meeting held in Baghdad on 15 October 2009, 48 Memoranda of Understanding in a broad array of cooperation fields, ranging from security to energy were signed. The second HLSC meeting was held in Ankara on 25-26 December 2014 and a joint statement was issued which states importance of cooperation between the two countries. The third HLSC meeting was held in Baghdad on 7 January 2017 during the Prime Minister of the Republic of Turkey H.E. Binali Yıldırım’s visit to Iraq. The sides, through a Joint Statement, reaffirmed their respect to each other’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, and agreed to develop their bilateral relations in a wide spectrum and to continue their cooperation in the fight against terrorism.

During the visit of the Iraqi Prime Minister H.E. Mr. Abadi on 25 October 2017 and on 14 August 2018, the sides agreed to develop all aspects of their bilateral relations and to increase cooperation in the fight against PKK and other terrorist organizations.

Iraq was the fourth largest export partner of Turkey with its share 9,06 billion US Dollars in 2017. Turkey’s bilateral trade volume with Iraq declined from 2014 to 2016 due to security problems in Iraq. In 2017, this trend has been reversed and the bilateral trade volume has increased. In the upcoming years, reaching 12,1 billon USD level of 2013 at the first stage is targeted.

Iraq is one of the richest countries in the world in terms of hydrocarbon resources. Turkey can play a prominent role in delivering Iraqi oil and gas to international markets, thereby contributing both to the welfare of Iraq as well as to the energy security of Europe and the world through supply and route diversification.

Turkey closely follows the situation of Iraqi Turkmens, who are one of the three constitutive components of Iraq and a bond of friendship between the two countries. Turkey continuously communicates with Iraqi authorities regarding the problems faced by Iraqi Turkmens. Turkey always reiterates that, Iraqi Turkmens, who are inseparable part of the Iraqi society, should be represented more in their country’s governing bodies.