GCC-Iraq-Turkey-Europe land link could facilitate commodities trade

Turkey and Iraq have signed a memorandum of understanding on the Development Road project to connect the Gulf Cooperation Council and Iraq to Europe via Turkey, according to Turkish media reports.

The project aims to establish a 1,200km highway and railway from the Grand Faw Port in Basra, Iraq, through the Iraqi cities of Diwaniyah, Najaf, Karbala, Baghdad, and Mosul to the Turkish border. It aims to provide access from the Turkish border to Mersin Port in Turkey and onward to Europe via Istanbul by road.

The agreement, involving Turkey, Iraq, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates, aims to significantly reduce transportation time to 25 days and set a $20 billion target for Turkey-Iraq trade.

The deal was made during Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s visit to Iraq, the first in 13 years, during which a total of 26 agreements were signed to enhance bilateral cooperation in various sectors, including energy, trade, education, tourism, sports, health, and defence.

Given the Red Sea shipping crisis, the alternative of road transportation is gaining importance for ensuring safe transportation of, among other things, commodities such as steel, Kallanish notes.

Elina Virchenko UAE