Land border-crossings represent a very important economic asset for neighbouring countries because of the income generated through cross-border commercial trade, as well as, providing a tourist corridor for the transit of visitors and tourists between countries. Border-crossings are also an important security gateway for the country.
The greater the number of land border-crossings in a country, the greater the economic benefits. Land border-crossings provide an important transport hub; particularly as transit corridors for the non-contiguous states, especially in the globalised “borderless” world of today, which is of great significance for the countries bordering Iraq because they are mostly consumers of goods and commodities. At the same time Iraq, as an oil producer, can derive real financial benefits from its borders by setting up transport hubs in appropriate locations; which will provide additional source of income on top of other important sources, such as oil and tourism.
Iraq has been transformed into an almost exclusively consumer economy as a result of the cumulative effects of past wars; the lack of proper planning; and the failure to develop public enterprises and institutions, particularly in the economic, industrial and agricultural sectors, despite the huge oil wealth on which it relies to set its fiscal budget. However, a rentier economy such this cannot secure the needs of the country, nor those of the people.
Therefore, it is necessary for Iraq to diversify its economy and generate other sources of income, perhaps by such means as increasing the number of land border-crossings, notably with Turkey. The total trade volume between the two countries in 2017 reached $30 billion a year, compared to less than one billion dollars between 2003 and 20041.
This research paper sheds light on the agreement between the Governments of Iraq and Turkey for the establishment of a new border terminal that links the Turkish area of Ovaköy and northern Iraq, as well as, discussing the importance of this new crossing in economic and political terms, and the reasons why so far this project has not been implemented yet. At the end of the paper, I have proposed a series of measures to be taken by Iraq to minimise its fears in regards to the establishment of this border crossing, which, in the view of the Iraqi state, it may result in an infringement of its sovereignty under the pretext of protecting the movement of Turkish goods.