Iraq and the Provisions of the Friendship Treaty With Turkey

Al-Mada, Iraq, June 25

Iraq and Turkey are bound by an agreement known as the Treaty of Friendship and Good Neighborly Relations between Iraq and Turkey, which contains six main clauses referring to a handful of topics, including the regulation of the Tigris and Euphrates waters and the issue of mutual cooperation. The treaty also provides the basis for bilateral educational and cultural cooperation, as well as economic partnerships. The Iraqi parliament ratified this treaty in 1947. I won’t dive into each and every clause in this agreement but a few points are worth pointing out. First, the treaty contains binding language that forces the two sides to fully respect each other’s borders and sovereignty. Second, the treaty states that in the event of a territorial dispute between Turkey and Iraq, the two sides will resolve this dispute in a peaceful manner, through negotiations, investigation, mediation, conciliation, arbitration, or judicial settlement. Simply put, this means avoiding military action at any cost, especially before exhausting all peaceful mediation mechanisms. Therefore, Turkey’s recent cross-border incursions into northern Iraq raise serious questions and concerns about the implementation of this treaty. Did the Iraqi parliament get word of these actions before they were carried out and approve them? Or did the Turkish side violate the treaty and acted without knowledge of Iraqi officials? Unfortunately, we’re left with many questions and few answers. This is because our political system lacks transparency and accountability. There is simply no way of knowing what the Iraqi stance vis-à-vis Turkey really is. It certainly seems as if Baghdad is maintaining a weak and forgiving foreign policy toward Ankara. In the absence of credible briefings and information provided to the Iraqi public by its elected officials, we, in the media, will continue to investigate the hidden decisions made on behalf of all of us behind closed doors. – Hadi Aziz Ali (translated by Asaf Zilberfarb)

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