Turkey gives up on a unified Iraq

Turkey is enjoying booming ties with the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) in northern Iraq, which is one of the most important takers for Turkish exports and has the potential of becoming a major oil supplier. When KRG forces seized the oil-rich city of Kirkuk last week, there were hardly any protests from Ankara. The oil of Kirkuk could make an independent Kurdistan economically viable.

KRG officials agree with Celik’s view that the days of a united Iraq may be numbered. “I don’t think it can stay together,” KRG Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani told the BBC. “As I said: Iraq before Mosul, and Iraq after Mosul. So now we have to sit down and find a formula how to live together, but if we think that Iraq will go back like before Mosul, I don’t think so—it’s almost impossible.”

Onur Oymen, a former ambassador and opposition lawmaker, warned the Erdogan government not to throw the principle of Iraq’s territorial unity overboard. “A break-up of Iraq would have a domino effect upon the entire region, no-one knows where it would end,” Oymen told The Daily Beast.