Between Iraq and Turkey, a rapprochement dictated by converging interests

In the context of the major changes that the Middle East is going through, the evolution of Turkish-Iraqi relations has taken a back seat. But recent initiatives are no less spectacular.

These two states anticipate the withdrawal of American troops (from Iraqi territory) and, now, their interests converge more, with Turkey seeking to exert greater influence in Baghdad.

Ankara has made a series of high-level commitments since the start of the year, in areas as diverse as infrastructure investment, water management and border security. Even if these new policies have not yet produced significant results, everything indicates that they will last.

At the end of April, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited Baghdad and met with Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Chia Al-Soudani. It was Erdogan’s first visit since 2011.

The bilateral summit aimed to address issues dating back as far as the 1958 coup, which brought a socialist Ba’athist regime to power in Baghdad.

Water Agreement

A key agreement concerns water management. Iraq’s two main rivers, the Tigris and the Euphrates, originate in Türkiye. However, over the last fifty years, the northern neighbor has built a series of hydroelectric dams which have reduced water resources downstream.

Ankara has also repeatedly turned off the tap for political reasons, such as when Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait in 1990.

Turkish control over water management of the two rivers has contributed to the climate of insecurity in Iraq, with the United Nations having designated the country as one of the five most affected by climate change in the world.

Today, with the new framework cooperation agreement on water, both parties commit to equitably distributing the use of

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