Tensions Rise as Kurdistan Trucks Oil to Turkey

By John Lee.

Turkey has started importing the crude oil from the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, and will hold negotiations over direct sales to the natural gas.

The Turkish Energy Minister said in a press conference on Friday that "Turkey has started importing five to ten trucks of crude oil per day from Kurdistan, and the quantity will increase to between one hundred and two hundred per day", according to AIN.

The spokesperson of the government, Ali al-Dabbagh stated in a press statement on Wednesday that "The Council of Ministers regards the export of oil by the KRG to Turkey as illegal, and Turkey must not allow it because it is responsible for this issue."

AKnews quotes, Samira al-Moussawi, an MP from Hussein al-Shahristani's parliamentary group as saying, "the Kurdistan region, in cooperation with Exxon Mobil, is smuggling oil to foreign countries including Turkey and Iran without agreement with the government, and this is an encroachment on the constitution and the laws."

U.S.-based private intelligence consultancy Stratfor observed: "Ankara's approach of offering concessions and projects to both Baghdad and Erbil seems to be gaining ground ... Wednesday's announcement represents an important leap forward for Turkey's ambitions in Iraq and, if successful, will make Turkey the premier enabler of foreign investment and development plans for both northern and southern Iraq."

(Sources: AIN, AKnews, UPI, Reuters)

(Picture: Trucks queueing at the Iraq-Turkey border)

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