New analysis focuses on Turkey's rival economic corridor
An opinion article titled "Trading Turkey" by Karam Said, published by the Egyptian Al Ahram newspaper, delves into Ankara's ambitious moves to strengthen its global trade position, particularly considering Washington's proposal for an economic corridor connecting India and Europe via the Middle East.
The article discusses Turkey's geopolitical aspirations underlying that Ankara's proactive move to cement its strategic position on the global economic map is evident in its response to Washington's economic corridor proposal. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced plans to partner with Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Iraq on a corridor that spans several nations, aligning potentially with China's Belt and Road Initiative.
The writer places the Turkish-Iraqi Development Road on the above frame and focuses on a project that proposes a vast maritime and overland route between Iraq and Turkey, ultimately linking Asia and Europe more efficiently through the Gulf countries and Turkey. With a staggering investment of around $17 billion, it promises to reduce transportation times by over 50%, benefitting the involved nations' supply chains.
The Turkish-Iraqi Development Road is coming to the forefront while Turkey has made noticeable efforts to mend strained ties with countries like Riyadh, Abu Dhabi, and Israel. Agreements, especially in the military and economic sectors, underscore Turkey's commitment to rebuilding these relationships. Erdogan's emphasis that a corridor cannot exist without Turkey stresses its strategic geographical and economic significance.
Said argues that with Turkey's economy currently facing hardships, the development road project emerges as a potential catalyst for economic revival. The project can rejuvenate various economic sectors by situating Turkey as a vital logistical hub and a focal point for Gulf investments, offsetting challenges like the depreciating Turkish lira and soaring inflation rates.
The article stresses that the project, although promising, has its hurdles. Iraq and Jordan's economies, both of which are integral to the project, are grappling with their challenges. Also, despite Turkey's efforts to rebuild ties with the Gulf, some mistrust stems from Turkey's controversial foreign policies. Turkey's interventions in northern Syria and Iraq and its associations with certain ideological groups remain contentious points with several Arab nations. Strained relations with Iran and Russia might hinder the project's progress.
Concluding Said writes that the Turkish-Iraqi Development Road project, albeit in its infancy, holds the potential to reshape the geopolitical and economic landscapes of the involved regions. However, its success hinges on Ankara's ability to navigate political differences with project participants and secure funding.