Türkiye can play a vital role in Iraq's development, Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani said on Tuesday. "We have a high trade volume between the two countries," al-Sudani said in a press conference in Iraq's capital city, Baghdad. "Türkiye is an economically developed country and can play a vital role in the development of Iraq," he added.
The Iraqi prime minister said that decreased rainfall and the low amount of water coming from Türkiye and Iran have created a water crisis in Iraq. "We are in favor of cooperation to solve this issue," he added.
Meanwhile, al-Sudani said Iraq will continue to play a mediating role between Iran and Saudi Arabia to create regional stability.
Earlier this month, Mohammed Shia al-Sudani, who was designated as Iraq's prime minister, was assigned to form the country's new government after months of political instability. Iraq has hosted several rounds of talks between Saudi Arabia and Iran in recent months to bring normalize their relations and ease tensions between the two countries.
As for an oil dispute between the federal government in Baghdad and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), al-Sudani said the dispute should be resolved through dialogue between the two sides.
Türkiye's relationship with Baghdad shifted to a new era after the invasion of Iraq. In this era, the integrity of Iraq is as important as the PKK terrorist organization problem for Türkiye-Iraq relations. The status of Kirkuk and Turkoman populations' rights are the subtitles of the disputes. Before the invasion, Türkiye was called for the invasion by the United States, but on March 1, 2003, the Turkish Parliament rejected being an active member of U.S.-led coalition forces in Iraq. Such a decision of the Turkish Parliament was seen as both a reaction against the unilateral action of the U.S. in the Middle East and the desire to keep Türkiye away from the Iraq War. While Türkiye was excluded from the U.S. plans in Iraq, Kurdish leaders of Iraq gained more power by allying with the U.S. during the war. The KRG, which behaves like a semi-independent unit, eventually emerged, and its aggressive foreign policy disturbed Turkish foreign policy mechanisms.
Türkiye's military operations were also limited as a result of the invasion. Iraq's soil became defacto U.S. territory and as a result, Türkiye needed the permission of the U.S. to launch a military operation in Iraq. Limited relations with Iraqi Kurdish leaders, military operations, and very limited relations with the central government in the 1990s soon became useless. As a result, Türkiye faced a deadlock in Iraq and needed a new strategy different from that of the 1990s.
After 2008, Türkiye came up with a new strategy: communication with all groups in Iraq. For both Sunni and Shiite Arabs, who want to keep Iraq unified, Türkiye is an essential actor. In 2015, Turkish diplomats in Mosul were kidnapped by terrorists during the Iraqi civil war from 2013-2017. They were later rescued and the consulate reopened after the war.