Seemingly lost in the news cycle is the fact that the Kurds just started unilaterally pumping “their” oil through a pipeline headed north to Turkey. The oil comes from a field jointly developed by a Canadian and Turkish consortium. This is one of those outcomes that would have seemed incredulous even last year. But there has been an increasingly visible sea change in Turkey’s relationship to Iraqi Kurdistan. Hannes Artens discussed it in his WPR briefing a few weeks back. But it now seems that Ankara has warmer relations with Iraq’s Kurds than with its own.
What exactly that means for Iraq, I’m not sure. Turkey had, for reasons relating to Kurdish independence, been a strong advocate for a centralized, non-federal Iraq. It seems like a greater comfort level in its ability to manage relations with what amounts to an autonomous Iraqi Kurdistan might make that less relevant.