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Flights between Iraq and Turkey scheduled to resume


Flights between Iraq and Turkey scheduled to resume

Turkey Iraq flights
Photo: Murad Sezer/ Reuters

Flights between Iraq and Turkey are scheduled to resume today amidst rising tensions between the two nations.

Turkey banned flights from Iraq in August over COVID-19 concerns, then extended the ban through September as cases in Iraq continued to rise. Iraq has experienced a surge in COVID-19 cases, with the country recently reporting close to 5,000 cases per day while surpassing 350,000 total infections.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is unlikely to risk further confrontation in the region, given possible EU sanctions the country may face due to a drilling dispute with Greece in the Mediterranean. Major EU players such as France have already called for sanctions to be imposed on Turkey, leading EU leaders to begin drafting possible economic measures.

Expect Ankara to announce that the flight ban will be lifted, but gradually rather than immediately due to concerns over COVID-19. Neither country is likely to risk further harming relations with regional partners. Alongside the threat of EU sanctions, Turkey faces a contracting economy, with a drop of 9.9% in GDP reported in the second quarter. As Iraq now sits in between worsening US-Iran relations, Baghdad is also unlikely to unnecessarily exacerbate already strained relations with Ankara at the risk of endangering its own security.

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