Date: 5th November, 2015
- Dlawer Ala’Aldeen, President of MERI (Chair)
- Feridun Sinirlioğlu, 44th Minister of Foreign Affairs, Turkey
- Nechirvan Barzani, Prime Minister, KRG
Turkey-KRG relations have evolved significantly since 2008. The two partners have increased their cooperation on a number of issues, including trade, energy and security. The bulk of Turkey’s total trade value with Iraq, $7 billion out of $11.95 billion, is held by Kurdistan.
“What you have achieved in Kurdistan is nothing short of a miracle, and we continue our support to you. We want to maintain stability.”
In addition, in 2012, Turkey and the KRG cut a deal to build one gas and two oil pipelines connecting the Kurdistan Region of Iraq directly to Turkey. Finally, Turkey among other countries is providing training to Peshmerga forces fighting ISIS.
“Our relationship with Turkey has reached a strategic level, and it is mutually beneficial.”
However, the partnership faces two main challenges. First of all, the peace process vis-à-vis Turkey and the Kurds in Turkey has experienced a serious setback in the last few months. The war between the Turkish state and the PKK has resumed and as a result, hopes for a political solution were dashed. Secondly, the disagreements between Erbil and Baghdad over oil exports and disputed territories, including Kirkuk can complicate the collaboration between Erbil and Ankara in the energy and security sectors. Accordingly, the panellists will discuss how the KRG-Turkey relationship evolved over time, the underpinnings of their partnership today, and its future prospects.