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Days Ahead of Iraqi Elections, Erdogan Meets with Sunni Rivals

Days Ahead of Iraqi Elections, Erdogan Meets with Sunni Rivals

Wednesday, 6 October, 2021 - 07:45
An Iraqi woman walks past election posters in Baghdad (Reuters)

Unlike Iran and the US, Turkey is publicly intervening in political alliances formed ahead of elections in Iraq for the first time.

In the past four rounds of elections in Iraq (2005-2018), Iranian and US envoys and ambassadors had put the final touches on Shiite consensus selecting the candidate for the post of prime minister.

While accusations were leveled against several neighboring countries, especially Turkey, regarding the post of parliament speaker in Iraq, which is reserved for Sunnis in the country, Iraqi Sunnis have been largely in agreement and without any conflict until the 2018 elections.

The same applies to the post of President of Iraq, which must be filled by a Kurdish candidate according to political consensus in the country. Kurds, who are represented by two major parties, shared positions in Iraqi Kurdistan and Baghdad smoothly until the 2014 elections.

Shiites occupy the post of prime minister in Iraq.

Nevertheless, the 2018 elections changed the situation for everyone in Iraq. They, for the first time, produced two coalitions that included all Iraqi sects, ethnicities, and components.

However, these alliances failed in their first experience when agreeing to form the government, and a final agreement was reached between the Sairoon bloc supported by Muqtada al-Sadr and the Fatah bloc led by Hadi al-Amiri.

The justification given for this agreement was to avoid Shiites fighting among themselves.

Sunnis and Kurds also struggled with the positions of parliament speaker and President.

Now, in a scene that seemed surprising, the Turkish presidency distributed two different flyers.

The first showed Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan with the Speaker of Parliament and Mohammad al-Halbousi, while the second showed Erdogan with the leader of the Azm Alliance, Khamis al-Khanjar.

Neither the Turkish presidency nor al-Halbousi or al-Khanjar issued a statement or statement regarding both pictures.

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