Issued by CEMO Center - Paris
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Water understandings between Iraq and Turkey: Continuous steps, absent results

Wednesday 06/September/2023 - 04:16 PM
The Reference
Mohamed Shaat


Iraq is continuing steps to establish understandings with Turkey in the face of the water crisis that it has been suffering from recently, as stored water levels have reached an unprecedented low level.

After multiple Iraqi visits to Turkey, Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan made a visit to Baghdad, during which he held discussions with his counterpart, Fuad Hussein.

The Iraqi News Agency (INA) quoted Iraqi Foreign Ministry spokesman Ahmed Al-Sahhaf as saying that the Iraqi foreign minister proposed expanding the discussion committee between the two sides to include all sectoral committees between the two countries, and he welcomed the expected visit of the Turkish trade minister, noting that the two sides confirmed that water management is an important issue for both sides and it is necessary to discuss it in depth. The security file was also discussed in detail between the two sides, as well as strengthening cooperation mechanisms in this regard.

The Turkish foreign minister expressed his happiness at visiting Iraq, stressing the importance of supporting bilateral relations and the priority for making his visit a success, which is his first visit of its kind to Turkey's neighboring countries.

Fidan expressed his hope to conclude a permanent and comprehensive agreement that enhances common interests and links the files under discussion between the ministerial authorities of the two countries and in various fields.

During a joint press conference, Fidan confirmed that an agreement had been reached with his Iraqi counterpart to form a permanent joint committee on water, while indicating that his country supports the vision of Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani in establishing the development road project.


Turkish requirements

Iraqi political analyst Yassin Aziz said in exclusive statements to the Reference that the Turkish foreign minister’s visit to Baghdad at the present time comes in circumstances that can be described as unstable between the two countries on several levels. He noted that these circumstances include stopping the export of oil from the Kurdistan region via Turkey, the water crisis, and security issues related to the ongoing Turkish violations on Iraqi territory within the borders of the Kurdistan region, in addition to Turkish demands to end the PKK threat to Turkey.

Aziz linked Fidan’s visit to an expected visit by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to Iraq, considering it a prelude to that possible visit. He pointed out that the bilateral discussions between the Iraqi and Turkish foreign ministers are linked to a visit by Erdogan.

He noted that if Fidan’s current visit to Baghdad is successful, amid the presence of Turkish conditions that could guarantee the visit of the Turkish President, this means that Erdogan's visit is contingent on the success of that visit. He pointed out that Turkey wants to obtain concessions regarding oil, including maintaining the transportation fee at $7 per barrel and being granted a preferential price per barrel of $13 more than the international price.

Regarding the Turkish foreign minister’s announcement of the formation of a permanent water management committee, the Iraqi political analyst believes that Turkey will not make any concessions in this file if it does not obtain these requirements.