by Oguzhan Akyener:
In addition to its estimated 40 billion bbl oil and 8 tcm gas reserves (according to OPEC reports), Northern Iraq is one of the most strategic areas for Turkey by considering the historical, ethnical, commercial, security and other political issues. Due to this importance, in the last decade, Turkey has tried to improve social, cultural and economic relations with the regional government of Northern Iraq (KRG), sometimes by having the risk of disrupting the relations with the Central Iraqi Government (CIG). As a result of this strategy, Turkey let KRG to export around 500 mb/d oil from Turkish Ceyhan port, which is the vital step for KRG’s presence.
However, the region, being also strategic for other actors, increases the complexity of the relations. That’s why KRG’s ruling party KDP has been slogging on taking the steady and stable political steps and having contradictory discourses and decisions between her relations with Turkey – Iran – Central Iraq Government (CIG) and USA.
In this article, after giving brief information about the geostrategic position of Northern Iraq (to be able understand why and for whom the region is important), key local and international actors having influence in the region will be tried to be identified. After having basically clarified the key actors’ main expectations in the region, some political contradictions of KRG in her relations with those key actors will be analyzed. Moreover, Northern Iraq to Iran oil pipeline (which is assumed as the new energy corridor through Iran) as one of the actual contradictions will be evaluated.