Turkey’s Optimistic Plans in Iraq seem to be Faltering

“Sure, Americans want restrictions on Haider al-Abadi," he said, referring to Abadi's ties with Tehran. "Americans are not dealing honestly with anyone in the region, not only with Turkey. Meanwhile, Iran seeks to expand its influence from the Iraq-Syria border to Kirkuk. Abadi is not under pressure, because he got what he wanted," which was control of the disputed areas. "He doesn’t want to challenge anything and endanger his election aspirations,” the source added.

Turkey had said it was ready to proceed with both projects. But we have to remember that Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim had declared Iraq had taken full control of the Habur crossing, and Anadolu Agency reported the same Oct. 31. Minister of Customs Bulent Tufenkci had said “this is good news” and confirmed operations at the crossing had resumed their normal pace. Turkey’s other compliant news media also reported Iraq had retaken control of the crossing.

However, Al-Monitor’s diplomatic source said recently, “Unfortunately the Habur crossing is not under government control. The Iraqi chief of staff arrived at Habur with a delegation and staged a show of force. But both sides are still negotiating whether there should be 'sole Iraqi control' or joint management by Baghdad and the KRG.”

Reuters reported both sides were meeting Jan. 15 to negotiate KRG border controls, as well as oil, customs revenue and other issues.

Turkey had generally followed a balanced approach to Iran in Iraq. In parallel with tensions with the United States on various issues, Turkey moved closer to Tehran — as last seen by Ankara’s opposition to the US support for demonstrators in Iran. This Turkish attitude could well soften the competition with Iran over Iraq.

But it is not yet clear whose counsel Abadi, who pursues a balanced policy between Tehran and Washington, is heeding when it comes to Turkey’s demands. This is very much open to speculation.

Tags: ,
Comments are closed.