Officials in the Iraqi government denied reports that the upcoming visit of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had been canceled, confirming that its date has not yet been determined.
Informed sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that the visit has become unlikely because the two parties have disagreed on resolving disputes over oil exports, water, and security.
Last month, Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan held discussions in Baghdad, aiming to pave the way for Erdogan’s visit.
However, the sources said the talks were unencouraging for a visit, explaining that perhaps Turkish officials felt the visit needed more suitable conditions to ensure its success.
According to Iraqi lawmakers, Türkiye sent indirect messages that the escalating dispute between the governments of Baghdad and Erbil over the budget, salaries, and oil exports does not provide a suitable political climate for Erdogan’s visit.
Nevertheless, a senior Iraqi official confirmed to Asharq Al-Awsat that Baghdad continues to prepare for Erdogan’s visit.
The sources indicated that the dispute over exporting oil has not been resolved with Türkiye yet.
Last March, Iraq won the case against Türkiye after a years-long struggle over oil exports from the Iraqi Kurdistan region. At that time, the Turkish port workers banned any cargo ship carrying oil from the Kurdistan region, according to Reuters.
The Turkish government stipulated that Baghdad must relinquish the case and exempt Ankara from the $2.6 billion compensation to resume exporting oil.
Türkiye filed a lawsuit demanding other compensation from Baghdad amounting to more than $900 million.
Iraqi sources described the issue as very thorny, and the two parties could not resolve it even after Minister Fidan visited Baghdad.
Baghdad is not in a position that allows it to continue to stop oil exports due to financial obligations, so it is trying to find common ground with Turkish officials to resume the export of Kurdish oil.
However, the sources said Erdogan’s visit is closely linked to solving this issue.
Source : Asharaq Al-Awsat