Turkey-Iraq Relations: From Close Partners to Adversaries
Baghdad and Ankara have recently drifted apart due to domestic dynamics in Iraq and changing regional parameters. In domestic terms, the U.S. withdrawal ended the Shia and Kurdish alliance and revealed the tensions that were postponed by the U.S. policies. Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s quest for centralization and nation building clashed with the Kurdish regional government’s position to keep its federal rights. Since Turkey encourages secular politics in Iraq and moved closer to the Kurds due to security concerns, Maliki regarded both moves as a challenge to his power and position. In the region, the Syrian crisis has polarized countries depending on their support for either Assad or the Syrian opposition. In this brief, the changing dynamics of Turkey-Iraq relations over the last five years are examined.