The Development Road: Connecting Iraq and Türkiye

The Faw Grand Port and Development Road in Iraq, previously known as the Iraqi Dry Canal, is an ambitious undertaking aimed at establishing a newly constructed trade route from Basra to Türkiye, bypassing the Suez Canal. Additionally, Iraq is focusing on developing a comprehensive network of transportation infrastructure, including highways, railways, and industrial zones, collectively known as the Development Road. This concerted effort is expected to facilitate the movement of goods and people between Basra and Türkiye.

Apart from the Faw Grand Port and Development Road, Iraq is investing in various supporting infrastructure projects. For instance, the construction of a quadruple-lane highway with an immersed tunnel is underway, linking the Faw Grand Port to the Umm Qasr Port. Furthermore, integrated industrial zones and a shipping airport are being planned, further optimizing the efficiency of these mega-projects.

By undertaking these ambitious initiatives, Iraq aims to enhance global connectivity and foster cooperation between the East and the West. These projects, combined with other infrastructure investments, position Iraq as a significant contributor to the global logistics network while also supporting its own economic development goals, thus strengthening its role in the global economy.

Upon its completion in 2029, the Development Road project has the potential to revolutionize the economic landscape of the region, paving the way for increased trade and development opportunities. The establishment of a link between Iraq and Türkiye through this mega-project is anticipated to facilitate seamless trade and travel, generating benefits not only for these two nations but also for the wider region.

Impact of the Projects on Iraq
The completion of the Development Road project and the Faw Grand Port will not only enhance Iraq's trade capabilities but also have a direct positive impact on the entire country. Iraq's reintegration into global trade routes is expected to create fresh economic opportunities, attract investments, and stimulate local businesses. Additionally, the emergence of new jobs in the transportation and logistics sectors is poised to benefit the local workforce, contributing to the overall development of Iraq.

The new route established by the Development Road is projected to significantly reduce travel time between the East and the West, as well as between Iraq and Türkiye. This time-saving advantage is expected to streamline trade operations and reduce transportation costs, making it more accessible and affordable for local businesses and international logistics firms. Furthermore, the Faw Grand Port's capacity to accommodate larger cargo vessels will boost the volume of goods transported, stimulating economic activity in the region.

Despite the potential benefits, several challenges need to be addressed to ensure the successful completion of these projects. One major challenge is ensuring security, particularly in extending the Development Road towards Syria, given the presence of armed groups, including terrorist organizations, in the region. Measures must be taken to mitigate these security risks. Financing the projects is also a significant challenge, as they require substantial investment. Therefore, international cooperation and investment will play a crucial role in ensuring the projects' success.

In summary, the completion of the Faw Grand Port and Development Road projects holds substantial economic and strategic benefits for Iraq. These endeavors are poised to solidify Iraq's position as a pivotal transportation and trade hub, expand its economic partnerships, and enhance relations with neighboring countries. Additionally, these projects will bolster economic ties between Iraq and Türkiye by providing an alternative trade route. While challenges such as security and financing must be addressed, international cooperation and investment will be vital in overcoming these obstacles and ensuring the projects' triumphant realization.

Türkiye's Perspective on the Projects
The completion of the Development Road and Faw Grand Port projects is expected to strengthen economic and trade cooperation between Iraq and Türkiye. Moreover, these projects are likely to increase the flow of oil and gas from Iraq to Türkiye, as Türkiye is already a major importer of Iraqi oil. In 2020, imports from Iraq met 30 percent of Türkiye's crude oil needs, highlighting the significance of Iraq as an energy partner for Türkiye.

During a visit by Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia’ al-Sudani to Ankara on March 21, 2023, discussions took place on various topics, including security, water issues, and cooperation in different sectors. Following these talks, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan expressed Türkiye's eagerness to collaborate on security matters and specifically mentioned the Development Road project. He referred to it as a "new Silk Road" and emphasized that Turkish ministers would closely monitor its progress. The positive outcome of the meeting regarding the project signifies a promising sign for bilateral relations. The willingness of both countries to cooperate on infrastructure projects and trade sets the stage for a new dynamic between them, laying a solid foundation for collaboration in other fields as well.

To summarize, the Development Road and Faw Grand Port projects present an opportunity for Iraq to diversify its economy, become a key player in the global logistics network, and strengthen its economic ties with Türkiye. Likewise, Türkiye stands to benefit from increased oil and gas flows from Iraq and expanded bilateral trade. However, successfully completing these projects requires addressing challenges such as security concerns and securing financing. International cooperation and investment will be critical to overcoming these hurdles. With both countries' enthusiasm for working together and their commitment to project success, it is expected that the benefits of these projects will be realized, contributing to regional development and prosperity.

The Future of Bilateral Relations
First and foremost, the completion of the Development Road and Faw Grand Port will significantly enhance trade connectivity between Türkiye and Iraq. By providing a direct trade route from Basra to Türkiye, bypassing the congested Suez Canal, these projects will streamline the movement of goods and reduce transportation costs. This increased efficiency will benefit both Turkish and Iraqi businesses, facilitating smoother trade flows and enhancing bilateral economic cooperation.

Furthermore, the projects will open up new avenues for energy cooperation. Türkiye, as a major importer of Iraqi oil, stands to benefit from the improved transportation infrastructure provided by the Development Road. With potential increased oil and gas flows from Iraq, Türkiye can diversify its energy sources and strengthen its energy security. This mutually beneficial partnership in the energy sector will not only deepen economic ties but also contribute to the prosperity of both nations.

Moreover, the projects will promote broader regional integration and collaboration. The establishment of the Development Road as a new trade route will attract investments from neighboring countries, creating a ripple effect of economic development throughout the region. It will foster closer economic ties between Iraq and other countries, stimulating cross-border investments and trade relationships.

Beyond economic benefits, the projects will have significant geopolitical implications. The strengthened economic cooperation between Türkiye and Iraq will contribute to the stability of the region. By working together on these mega-projects, both nations are demonstrating their commitment to regional cooperation and shared prosperity.

In conclusion, the Faw Grand Port and Development Road projects have the potential to reshape Turkish and Iraqi relations. By enhancing trade connectivity, fostering energy cooperation, and promoting regional integration, these projects will deepen the economic and diplomatic ties between the two nations. The successful completion of these projects will not only bring substantial economic benefits but also contribute to the stability and prosperity of the region as a whole.