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Policy Analysis

Policy Focus 122

Turkey’s Changing Relations with Iraq: Kurdistan Up, Baghdad Down

Soner Cagaptay and Tyler Evans

Also available in العربية

October 2012


Turkey's ties with the Kurdistan Regional Government in northern Iraq have reached a level unimaginable a few years ago. From rapidly growing business and oil deals to numerous high-level diplomatic visits, Ankara is in the midst of an unprecedented rapprochement with the Iraqi Kurds, one that has come largely at the expense of the Maliki government in Baghdad.

In this Policy Focus, Soner Cagaptay and Tyler Evans explain how that shift came about and, more important, how much further it might go in terms of pushing Ankara away from Baghdad and toward the Kurds. At a time when the uprising in Syria continues to boil on Turkey's border, they offer a detailed timeline of the changes in the relationship thus far, as well as a practical assessment of what Washington can expect going forward.

THE AUTHORS

Soner Cagaptay is the Beyer Family fellow and director of the Turkish Research Program at The Washington Institute.

Tyler Evans is a Schusterman young scholar at the Institute.