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Normalization between Ankara and Baghdad

47 12 3

Relations between Turkey and the Iraqi government have been tense for some time. The most important reason for the tension was the fact that the Iraqi territory has been used by the PKK for a long time. The other reason is that in many parts of Iraq, as we saw in the Mosul region during the fight against Daesh, the Iraqi government is trying to modify the sociological structure of a number of regions.

There is, of course, the crisis around the military base in Bashiqa, as well. Several hundred Turkish troops have been deployed at this base with the authorization of the Iraqi government, which is now asking Ankara to remove them. Turkey says it is not going to call back its troops as long as an Iranian-backed Shiite militia remains active in the region. In other words, the tension between Ankara and Baghdad is also a tension between Turkey and Iran, with the civil war in Syria in the background.

As of today, a truce has been put in place in Syria and diplomatic negotiations are under way to shape the future of the country. The main player at the table will be Russia, which keeps beefing up its influence in the region. The other major player will be the United States, but only when Donald Trump takes his oath and settles into the White House. It suits Vladimir Putin, as well, because Russia does not want to take all the responsibility on this matter and he knows perfectly that Russia has no capacity to control all the dynamics in this volatile region. Iran and Turkey, too, will have a place around the table and these four powers will try to decide what kind of future Syria and Iraq will have.

We do not know yet if the negotiations will succeed. It would be better to sort out a number of differences before sitting around the table, though. For a start, all players may take a step back. Turkey will agree that Assad will remain in power for some more time in Damascus; Iran will stop........

© Daily Sabah