Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan is set to make a high-profile visit to the Iraqi capital of Baghdad on Wednesday and Arbil, capital of the Kurdistan region of Iraq, on Thursday, the Rudaw news website reported on Sunday, citing officials.
Fidan’s visit, as reported by multiple sources, seeks to bolster ties with both the Iraqi federal government and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). Ahmed al-Sahaf, spokesperson for the Iraqi Foreign Ministry, told Rudaw that the Turkish minister’s schedule in Baghdad includes meetings with Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia’ al-Sudani and Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein.
Following his meetings in Baghdad, Fidan is scheduled to visit Arbil, where talks with KRG Prime Minister Masour Barzani will take place, KRG Spokesperson Peshawa Hawramani confirmed to Rudaw. Additional reports suggest that Fidan will also meet with KRG President Nechirvan Barzani and Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani.
While official statements haven’t precisely outlined the purpose of the visits, bilateral relations between Ankara and the two respective governments in Baghdad and Arbil are expected to dominate the conversations. Both Sahaf and Hawramani emphasized that a variety of shared concerns will be addressed.
Kurdistan24, quoting the Iraqi foreign ministry spokesperson, underscored Iraq’s stance against unilateral actions causing damage to the country, hinting at potential discussions surrounding the flow of oil through the Iraq-Turkey pipeline.
Following a ruling by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) in March, which ordered Turkey to pay Baghdad $1.5 billion for unauthorized KRG exports between 2014 and 2018, the oil flow did not restart. Although an agreement between Arbil and Baghdad was signed in April to resume exports, the pipeline is still inactive.
Fidan’s visit also coincides with increased attention to Iraq’s water security concerns. During Prime Minister Al-Sudani’s trip to Ankara in March, discussions with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan included the topic of Iraq’s water supply, which has been impacted by dams in Turkey and Iran.