What is state failure? See my conceptualisation of state failure on the right flank below.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

An analytical mixing of soldiers and business

Turkish Daily News had an article yesterday that offers a measure of what is at stake in Northern Iraq. "The possibility of Turkish troops entering northern Iraq has affected the activity of Turkish firms in the region with 23 companies having withdrawn in the last 15 days, the most recent one being Taşyapı which recently completed a road construction venture worth $60 million in the area," it starts, and then it offers a brief backgrounder on why Turkish companies matter for Northern Iraq's economy. If they matter indeed, why not read a long and detailed overview instead? Go here and read this other one; you don't even have to leave the sovereign territory of Turkish Daily News. Excellent reporting by Metin Can with additional background information listed at the end.
An excerpt, just for the taste of it:
" As political troubles continue, major economic developments are ongoing, with Turkish companies having won major tenders in northern Iraq reaching $1.5 billion annually. Out of the 440 foreign companies registered at the Arbil Chamber of Commerce, 321 are Turkish followed by Germany with 45 companies. The Makyol Construction Company has undertaken construction of Arbil Airport, a contract worth $480 million; the Tepe Group is building Salahaddin University; and Arbil's roads are being built by Gülmak and Grup 77.
Meanwhile, there are 600 Turkish firms operating in northern Iraq, with the Turkish Armed Forces Assistance Fund (OYAK) being the most active in meeting northern Iraq's cement, construction products and paper needs. Out of all the products sold at Arbil's first big shopping mall, Nazemall, Turkish goods make up 80 percent.
Turkish businessmen are investing in Arbil in record numbers, and the reason behind the Turkish success in the area is their international experience. The KDP's external relations representative, Safeen Dizayee, and Arbil's Chamber of Commerce chairman, Daarel Celil Hayat, are calling on Turkey to make use of this opportunity. “Turkey should take a leadership role in the area by sending businessmen instead of troops,” said Hayat and Dizayee. "
Surely, the Turkish Armed Forces Assistance Fund must be a relevant player here. And later on the article says: "The KDP has already drafted an incentives bill for investments worth $15 billion." So there's plenty to play for. Arbil now even has at least one Turkish restaurant! (Which reminds me - I should eat some orman kebab tomorrow.)
So this is all at stake, although if I may take President Bush's statement about Turkey today that "Actually they have troops already stationed in Iraq and they've had troops stationed there for quite a while," as an indicator in its context, it's actually not an indicator of U.S. willingness to welcome a Turkish (military) incursion into northern Iraq. Which may be why it's likely to be a temporary reversal of the mutually beneficial (economic) incursion that Turkey might be trying to make work here against the PKK spillover.

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