The Turkish-Kurdish ‘Secret Agreement’

This article was originally published by Niqash. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Matter of National Security? The Turkish-Kurdish ‘Secret Agreement’

An 18-month-old “secret agreement” between Iraqi Kurdistan and Turkey goes for 50 years and potentially affects national security and oil exports. Nobody knows what’s in it but critics suggest it may not have a legal leg to stand on.

In November 2013 the semi-autonomous region of Iraqi Kurdistan and neighbouring Turkey signed what some have since described as a “secret agreement”. In a speech Iraqi Kurdish Prime Minister, Nechirvan Barzani, announced that the agreement covered several areas of cooperation and that the duration of the cooperation would be 50 years. However he didn’t reveal much, if anything, about what might be in this agreement. And the Turkish side didn’t mnetion the agreement at all.

Ever since then questions have been being asked about the agreement: Why won’t the Iraqi Kurdish government tell anyone what is in it? Why isn’t the agreement helping Iraqi Kurdistan deal with various crises, security related and financial?

“The government signed a 50-year agreement with the Turkish government covering several areas,” Sven Dzia, the spokesperson for the Iraqi Kurdish government, confirmed to NIQASH. But then he refused to go into further details. “The concerned authorities have revealed what is important and what can be revealed. The main objective of the agreement is to strengthen trade relations between the two sides,” he concluded.

Asking around various politicians in Iraqi Kurdistan, it seems that they too know little about the content of the agreement. They say these are only known to a handful of people, including the Turkish President, Prime Minister and Foreign Minister and then the Iraqi Kurdish Prime Minister, Barzani, and the Iraqi Kurdish Minister of Natural Resources, Ashti Hawrami.

On condition of anonymity one local MP also listed the senior Iraqi Kurdish politicians who didn’t know what was in the agreement. These included the region’s former and current Deputy Prime Ministers, the Minister of Finance and the members of the region’s Oil and Gas Council.

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