News and Comment by the Kurdistan Tribune:
The economic and political instability in the Kurdistan Region has driven prime minister Nechirvan Barzani and other ministers to make several visits to Turkey over the past two weeks. As the battle of nerves between Baghdad and Erbil continues, business morale has plummeted in the south of Kurdistan.
Estate agents are reporting to local newspapers that their transactions are down by at least 60%. The oil dispute has hit share values – for example Gulf Keystone’s shares have fallen from $3.58 to $1.91 over the last six weeks, though this will not be a permanent decline. European sanctions on Iran have also had a knock-on effect on the Kurdistan Region. The last five years were a robust time for the Kurdish economy – although the benefits were not widely shared – but now the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) is beginning to panic and thinking that the only route to survival is via Turkey.
Relations between the KRG and the Turkish government have flourished in recent months due to the Turkish prime minister’s backing for Kurdish president Barzani in his dispute with Iraqi prime minister Maliki. Analysts believe the KRG’s frequent trips to Turkey show that the KRG is in big trouble and wants Turkey to save them.