Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan will hold high-level meetings in Baghdad and Erbil (Hewler) as part of his visit to Iraq scheduled for 22-24 August, the Turkish Foreign Ministry announced.
Following his meetings in Baghdad, Fidan will travel to the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) on Wednesday, where he will meet with the leader of the ruling Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) Masoud Barzani, President of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Nechirvan Barzani, Prime Minister Masrour Barzani and Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani.
The main focus of Fidan’s visit to Erbil is expected to be Turkey’s ongoing military offensive against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in the Kurdistan Region. The KDP has recently alleged that it is actively supporting and collaborating with Turkish forces in their operations.
Masrour Barzani visited Turkey on 15 April and held talks with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Fidan, who was then undersecretary of the National Intelligence Organisation (MIT). Two days after this visit, Turkey launched an attack on PKK militants in Iraqi Kurdistan. Similarly, about a month after Masrour Barzani’s visit to Ankara in June, Turkey’s new wave of operations began.
During his talks in Baghdad, Fidan will prioritise the severe water crisis caused by Turkey’s dams on the Euphrates and Tigris rivers and the cessation of Kurdistan Region’s oil exports through the Turkish port of Ceyhan.
The International Trade Organisation had previously ordered Turkey to pay around $1.5 billion in compensation for damage caused by oil exports between the KDP and the Turkish government from 2014 to 2018, which were carried out without Baghdad’s approval. Turkey, however, has been trying to negotiate new economic, political and military agreements with the Iraqi central government and has been setting terms.
For example, the Turkish government has set strict conditions for the resolution of oil-related issues with Iraq. These conditions include a reduction in the price of a barrel of oil from the Kurdistan Region, which is currently at $13, to make it more favourable to Turkey; the continuation of Turkey’s payment of $7 per barrel as a transport fee to the Turkish state-owned company BOTAŞ from Iraq; and the payment by Iraq of the cost of the construction of the Iraq-Turkey oil pipeline.