March 30th, 2012
09:22 AM GMT
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Baghdad (CNN) - As Iraq's capital emerges from almost a decade of conflict and civil strife it is becoming an economic battleground for Turkey and Iran.

Turkish firm Tefirom is contracted to build Baghdad Mall. Featuring a five-star hotel more than 100 meters tall, it is set to be the tallest building in Baghdad. It will also house shops, gyms, a giant parking garage and a state-of-the art medical center.

Ashken Alkgoum is one of the engineers. He told CNN’s Fred Pleitgen: "Our costs are low, our labor quality is very good, and our engineers especially are really good.”

The Iraqi clients paying for the Baghdad Mall, with a budget of nearly $100 million, agree. They say construction is on schedule.

Falah al Sayegh, the chief engineer, says Turkish companies have an edge in Iraq because they moved into the market fast - even when the security situation was a bigger problem.

"Before I came here I heard a lot of stories about the Turkish companies,” said al Sayegh. “But to come to Baghdad with all of the circumstances – I think that is maybe one of the major issues. I think they are making a very brave move, because from so many other places nobody will come."

Taking a chance on the Iraqi market is paying off for Turkish companies. Trade between the two neighbors reached about $12 billion last year, according to the Turkish government, and Ankara says it wants that figure to double in 2012.

But there's another player on the field, and you just need to head to Baghdad's street-side shops to see Iranian consumer goods on display.

Aziz Jaber, an Iraqi political analyst, says Turkey and Iran are in a competition to gain both economic and political influence.

"The two countries try to put their hand on Iraq and try to make Iraq as the market to them, from one side, and also to make the political situation tend to them," said Jaber.

Iraq's trade with Iran is based much more on consumer goods than its trade with Turkey - at a high price for Iraqi producers, says Jaber.

"Iran is invading Iraq with the vegetable - in that the Iraqi farmers cannot compete with the Iranian productions. Because the agricultural production in Iran is very cheap and the costs of products in agriculture in Iraq is very high."

According to Iran, bilateral trade with Iraq reached $7 billion last year, and Tehran's Shiite-led government says it is wants a substantial increase in 2012 as well.

There is also a sectarian element to the Turkish-Iranian economic competition in Iraq. While Turkish companies are successful in the predominantly Sunni center and the Kurdish north, Iranian companies have an edge in the Shiite-dominated south, with massive religious tourism projects and infrastructure construction.

Iran's PapsIran company is building a massive waste water treatment plant on the outskirts of Karbala, the holy city that has some of the most important Shiite shrines.

Costs are estimated at around $100 million and the project's Iranian director says he believes there will be good investments in Iraq in the near future.

Investments, no doubt, for both Iran and Turkey - struggling for pole position in Iraq, a country with big oil wealth and a dire need for reconstruction.



soundoff (38 Responses)
  1. shahin

    As long as they're building and not destroying, where's the harm?

    March 30, 2012 at 10:43 am |
  2. Hasan Utku Gelbal

    Yes, He is saying true. Turkey is development country. Especially, Turkish building companies are working there. Our companies really very good. Many construction are made a lot of building.

    March 30, 2012 at 10:48 am |
  3. Smith

    It is a good thing. Iran also sells electricity to both Iraq and Turkey. It is what a market economy should look like and all sides benefit from increasing trade. It is unlike US which destroyed Iraq. At least they are building stuff and taking care of the Iraqi people. Americans just know how to destroy and kill.

    March 30, 2012 at 12:47 pm |
  4. RSAT4

    America is coming to destroy again

    March 30, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
  5. Salahuddin

    I agree Americans are all about destruction and killing. Even of their own people. I just listened to a good podcast about American war and monuments at theruggedgent(dot)com called Monuments to Power

    March 30, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
  6. Hamid

    If the US had used 10% of its expenses in Iraq on reconstruction things would have looked different, Same goes to Afghanistan. I've been to Iraq multiple times and havent seen a single building project by the US, they only came to bomb and influence the politics.

    March 30, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
  7. ferdinand

    The US and its mafia like Israel will surely sore loser, Iran with its influence and rapid industrialization will benefit more than Turkey.

    March 30, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
  8. ferdinand

    Its miracle CNN made a news about the Iran contribution to Iraq economy. Really a miracle. .

    March 30, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
  9. raika45

    You Americans are only good at destroying countries.Of course it will not make you happy that Iran is helping to reconstruct Iraq.You destroyed a nation for no reason.May Bush rot in hell.

    March 30, 2012 at 4:20 pm |
  10. schoerder

    Good thing.... Destroy the buildings and kill the civilians and then rebuild malls, hospitals and school for Money..

    Nice way to get income.

    March 30, 2012 at 6:22 pm |
  11. deniz boro

    As a Turk, I can say that CNN can be perfectly neutral on these issues. It is a news channel after all and is not obliged to display the international partners of companies which now restore Iraq.

    March 30, 2012 at 8:26 pm |
  12. MP4/3GP ADULT VIDEOS, GET IT NW 14YR N ABOVE

    that will be nice, just expecting d best from them.

    March 30, 2012 at 9:34 pm |
  13. sameh

    See the elephant is dying and die a very sad situation
    http://upload40.com/12317.html

    March 30, 2012 at 11:38 pm |
  14. CHYENNA

    iF MIDDLE EAST WOULD PLAY NICE IN THE SANDBOX TOGETHER AND LEAVE OTHER COUNTRIES ALONE, IF YOU WOULD QUIT KILLING YOU'RE OWN PEOPLE AND LEAVE US ALONE WE'D LEAVE YOUR AZZES ALONE. YOU START WITH THE LIES AND KILLING, AND THREATS, WE WOULD GLADLY LEAVE YOU ALONE.

    March 31, 2012 at 7:24 am |
  15. Attacks saudis

    Israel with iran have to attack Saudi Arabia & UAE.
    From the west Israel & Europe will attack saudi arabia.
    From the east India can attack UAE.
    From the south Africa will destroy all arab.

    March 31, 2012 at 11:32 am |
  16. Fallen saudis

    Sell oil-gas and its pollution to build the hotels before the deserts surfaces fall down in the empty canals mines?
    How much money value from oil for food at the hotel with expensive maintenance cost on desert with dust storm?
    Try to live with the expensive hotel on desert with dead cultures on this old earth?
    All arab will be fallen by death soon.

    March 31, 2012 at 11:34 am |
  17. mardjan

    building a Mall and water treatment plants and trading cabbage and carrots are good. The million dollar question is who will control the oil?

    March 31, 2012 at 11:35 am |
  18. MP4/3GP ADULT VIDEOS, GET IT NW 14YR N ABOVE

    sup.hahaha we gat to expect tour time wen they hav started.

    March 31, 2012 at 1:33 pm |
  19. Really Cool

    Now if Sunni and Shia would learn to stop killing each other I'd be impressed. Perhaps they will be able to understand the difference between fighting for financial gains which does not contain violence compared to actual fighting with violence.

    March 31, 2012 at 2:53 pm |
  20. chuck

    im glad the U.S. didnt build stuff there. it prolly would have been blown up already it so. same with afghan!!!

    March 31, 2012 at 8:55 pm |
  21. chuck

    U.S.A, U.S.A. ALL THE WAY BABY. GOT A PROBLEM WE CAN FIX IT!!! AND FOR ALL THE COUNTRIES THAT HATE US SO MUCH......STOP LOOKING FOR US TO SOLVE YOUR PROBLEMS. KNOW WHAT I FOUND FUNNY WHEN THE U.S. TOLD NATO THEY WERENT GOING TO LEAD THE WAY INTO LIBIA IT TOOK THEM ALMOST 2 WEEKS TO FIND SOMEONE ELSE TO DO IT LOL......STOP DEPENDING ON US SO MUCH MAYBE WE WOULDNT HAVE TO BE IN YOUR BUSINESS SO MUCH AND FOR GOODNESS SAKE STAY OUT OF OUR COUNTRY..... WE DONT WANT YOU HERE

    March 31, 2012 at 9:00 pm |
  22. zedan

    this site is very good to learn english for free
    http://upload40.com/12602.html

    April 1, 2012 at 6:41 am |
  23. Oil Disaster

    Force to build hotel on deserts? Wrong place Wrong economics by Wrong nation to do More Wrongs.
    Nature has the right to control oil-gas-coal by natural process for making nutrition for trees.
    Do arab feel rich because of oil? Your arab will be Dead because of oil disaster pollution war.

    April 1, 2012 at 11:41 am |
  24. Sacrify arab

    For Human Being Sacrify islam Sacrify muslim:
    Destroy islam Punish muslim Punish arab!!
    Destroy islam Punish muslim Punish arab!!
    Destroy islam Punish muslim Punish arab!!
    See The Better World Without islam.

    April 1, 2012 at 11:45 am |
  25. Fidel

    Chuk, Look how nice and fast we ended the Libia conflict, not like american wars, take a daced ore so and with bad intetions. Thats the reason nobody whant's your help. U chmuks whant to have a reason to play worlpolice, so u can benifit from it. Americans u are the funniest poeple in the world. Every time I put on my TV and se your showes we get amaized how stupid your people has becomed. Not your fault though.

    April 1, 2012 at 11:53 am |
  26. Fidel

    Don't blame me, blame your Obama ore maybe your Mama..
    For still having so many crackheads, still brenda is trowing baby's in the trash. Still u sentens children to the deat row. Still u can't buy alcohol when u are 18 but u are ready for war and still u are not feeding the por.
    I whant Iran to become more democratic, but that does not meen I whant US to dictate what democracy is. Choosing between US and Iran is like choosing between HIV and aids. I don't whant the options to be, choosing between the worst and de second worst thing. My ambitions are higher then that....

    April 1, 2012 at 12:19 pm |
  27. Guiltyarab

    From the North Africa all African people will be Gladly to kill arab.
    From the west Israel can launch several rockets to attack saudi arabia & UAE.
    For India surely eliminates muslim from the saudi arabia & UAE the evil terrorist centers to be destroyed.

    April 1, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
  28. MP4/3GP ADULT VIDEOS, GET IT NW 14YR N ABOVE

    irap gradually kuming out of d closet.

    April 1, 2012 at 7:42 pm |
  29. david

    Research israels aparteid policies.

    Investigate AIPAC contributions to politicians.

    Israel is the leading cause of anti-semtism.

    Jewsagainstzionism.com

    Don't support pro zionist politicians.

    April 2, 2012 at 9:44 pm |
  30. Jackie

    I miss living in Turkey, and someone needs to rebuild Iraq who cares who it is. Everyone needs a little help sometimes, Bush destroyed Iraq and now it is time to work from the bottom up it is the only way to get anywhere in life.

    April 2, 2012 at 11:43 pm |
  31. Turk

    As a Turkish American who has lived abroad and travel quite extensively for business and pleasure, i can honestly say that speaking in ill fashion about another nations quality of foreign politics without extensive research and or proof is highly idiotic... also note that US led the invasion into Iraq however it was not the only that Iraq was in conflict with. remember Iran & Iraq, Turkey & Iraq just to name a few... i personally believe each nation has to come to its own political comfort in their own time with their own means of social/political evolution, and if their is gross injustice than why shouldn't someone interfere...

    April 4, 2012 at 8:50 am |
  32. Vermilionskin

    As an Iraqi I do not want Iran to control Iraq, I prefer Turkey BIG TIME, Iranians hate us no matter what we do, they hate all Arabs for something happened AGES ago, they only care about bringing back the Persian Empire, hell ^%#$ let's everyone bring back their Empires! China, Siam, Greece, Rome lol
    Iran will turn Iraq into an Islamic country for sure, while Turkey can help promote democracy and they are like Iraqis.
    At the end I feel sad for losing my home but well this is life.

    April 4, 2012 at 9:22 am |
  33. Vermilionskin

    Seriously why the comments here are sick as hell! grow up people.

    April 4, 2012 at 9:24 am |
  34. All arab Apologize For The Sins Of islam & its terrorist violence

    Arab Apologize For The Sins Of islam & its terrorist violence.
    All Arabian people said :
    ==================
    Our prophets are NOT your president.
    All islamic rules and its histories are NOT perfect always have its wrongs.

    The islam have been survived by the real truth from outside islam.
    People in Different Geological conditions & languages create so many names of God to survive.
    That is why the islamic ego is wrong at all that is the monotheism’s egoistic wrongs.

    Find the real truth outside the books.
    Heaven is in your heart.
    Because inside you there are the house for all truth.

    ==================
    All islamic people apologize to all human being for all muslim violence.
    And we all arab have to make responsible for the Sins of islam.

    It is true that islam is just the past prophets imagination to sustain lives on this world.
    We all islamic people are a shame for the islamic ego and our selves to be punished by our death.

    Sincerely,
    All Arab

    From cursed dust muslim will be turned to dust in their forsaken arabian deserts.

    April 4, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
  35. Ted Striker

    Turkey seems to be the most moderate and stabilizing country in the whole region. They have alot of very talented workers there as well. In the coming decades we will also see Iran rejoin the world community. Their leadership is pretty Reactionary now (can't blame them after we in the West screwed them multiple times), but their youth is extremely moderate and will be coming of age into leadership positions soon. Turks are very popular as I think they understand business very well and are a practical and diplomatic country who tries to keep everybody a winner, because it's just good business.

    April 13, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
  36. John Kimble

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    June 8, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
  37. icons designs

    All above told the truth.

    November 4, 2012 at 8:10 pm |
  38. velaparivaar

    Tanner Mays

    December 8, 2012 at 4:56 pm |

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