bne IntelliNews – Turkey, Iraq, Qatar and UAE sign preliminary agreement to develop road transit corridor

Turkey, Iraq, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates have signed a preliminary agreement to cooperate on a $17 billion development road project, a massive infrastructure plan that envisages connecting Iraq’s Basra Gulf commodities port facility with road and rail traffic. Cargo is transshipped to European markets across Iraq and Turkey.

The signing of the preliminary agreement was witnessed by Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammad Shia al-Sultani and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan during the Turkish president’s just-concluded trip to Iraq.

Turkey has been pushing to accelerate the construction of a “development path” since India, the Middle East powers and the EU’s largest economy used the G20 summit last September to announce a $17 billion India-Middle East-Europe trade corridor plan. This route completely shuts out Türkiye.

“Without Turkey, there is no corridor,” Erdogan angrily told reporters accompanying him to the G20 summit in New Delhi. “The most convenient route from east to west must go through Turkey,” he added.

The maritime and rail lines of the India-Central and Eastern Europe trade corridor will pass through the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Israel to reach European regions such as Greece.

Like development roads, the corridor could compete with the Suez Canal for trade transport.

Meanwhile, the Iranians and Russians are working to develop the North-South Corridor (also known as the International North-South Transport Corridor, INSTC). It aims to promote intermodal trade routes connecting Russia, the South Caucasus, Central Asia and Europe to the Middle East and India through Iranian ports in the Persian Gulf and Sea of ​​Oman (Indian Ocean).

One of the difficulties faced in developing road schemes is safety.

Ankara believes the continued presence of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militant group in northern Iraq poses a threat to the construction of major trade routes.

Erdogan said during his visit to Iraq on April 23 that he believed Baghdad was aware of the need to eliminate the PKK militia and was willing to support efforts to achieve this goal.

He praised the announcement of the ban on the PKK in Iraq. However, Iraq does not list the PKK as a “terrorist” organization like Turkey, the European Union and the United States.

In 1984, Kurdish groups took up arms against the Turkish government.

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