Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani at a major energy conference in Erbil yesterday said that Kurdistan’s relations with Turkey in the energy sector have entered a new phase. He expressed his optimism that after his recent visit to Turkey, more political will and understanding will lead to stronger economic relations.
In his speech at the energy conference, the Prime Minister said, “We hope that our natural resources will be a source of prosperity for all the people of Iraq. The presence of Minister Taner Yildiz [Turkey’s Minister of Energy and Natural Resources] and other Turkish guests is a sign of our cooperation with Turkey in natural resources, and a testament to how we can support this important sector through our historic ties in this region.”
The Prime Minister was speaking at a two-day conference on “Energy and the Kurdistan Region’s Road to Development”. He said, “Because of our policies, we have been able to put the Kurdistan Region on the world map. I have no doubt that we will have an important role in providing energy to the world.”
The governors of Ninevah and Kirkuk provinces participated in the conference. Noting their attendance, Prime Minister Barzani said, “Some other areas in Iraq are following the same path to learn from our expertise, as it is their right to manage their own resources in their governorates, according to the law and Iraq’s federal constitution.”
Turkey’s Minister Yeldiz spoke about the vital trade partnership between Turkey and the Kurdistan Region, which accounts for some 70% of the 11 billion dollars of trade with Iraq. On energy policy, he said, “Turkey’s future energy requirement is 48 – 50 billion cubic metres of gas. Our neighbour has a significant role to play in this.”
He added, “With the Kurdistan Regional Government and the Iraqi government, we will develop such projects and we will stand by them when they face problems. We have a multi-directional energy policy, and northern Iraq will not be an exception to this.”
Dr Ashti Hawrami, the Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) Minister for Natural Resources, said in his presentation, “Turkey means for us the access route to monetise oil and gas and create benefits for the Iraqi people.”