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Turkey's global strategy: Turkey and Iraq

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Interaction between Turkey and Iraq is rapidly increasing, with economic and strategic interests driving political cooperation, yet there are still longer-term challenges remain to be solved, particularly in relation to energy and water security. Iraq is one of Turkey’s most important trading partners and is becoming an essential source of energy. It attaches great deal of importance to Iraq’s stability and territorial integrity and sees those matters as crucial to its own security and stability. Turkey has become more active in Iraqi affairs, including burgeoning trade and investment relations, close communication with infl uential political actors and pro-active engagement with Iraqi Kurds. The elimination of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) is a major security objective on the agenda of Turkish-Iraqi bilateral relations. Moreover, the future status of Kirkuk, an ethnically mixed city of Kurds, Arabs, and Turcomans, among them Muslims and Christians and home to some of the Iraq’s largest oil reserves, is another cause for concern for Turkey. Turkey’s principal anxiety is that the oil riches of Kirkuk will only encourage the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) to seek greater autonomy, which may spill over into its own borders and spark unrest among Turkey’s own Kurdish population. Essentially, energy, economy and reconstruction form the crux of the Turkish involvement in Iraq.

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