Coronavirus sickens Turkish-Iraqi trade

Coronavirus sickens Turkish-Iraqi trade
Source Date: 06/03/2020
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by Mahmut Bozarslan: Turkey’s closure of its only border crossing with Iraq amid a spike in coronavirus cases in its southern neighbor has disabled a major trade route,

threatening the livelihoods of millions of people, from street vendors at the crossing to big industries on the other side of the country.

The Habur crossing, which opens into Iraqi Kurdistan, was sealed off on March 1, a week after Turkey closed its border with its eastern neighbor Iran, the epicenter of the contagion in the Middle East.

The closure of Habur, Turkey’s second busiest border crossing, has set off alarm bells across the business community, which fears losing major markets in Iraq, the third largest buyer of Turkish goods, atop a bruising economic downturn at home. The crossing has been an economic lifeline for Turkey’s Kurdish-majority southeast, an impoverished, conflict-torn region that borders Iraq. 

Habur’s significance extends beyond Turkey as it serves as a transit route for some of Iraq’s imports from third countries, including via Turkey’s Mediterranean ports. Businesspeople warn that a protracted closure of the crossing could lead to shortages in import-reliant Iraq.

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