POLITICS > Despite US opposition, oil trade with Iraq is legal, PM Erdoğan says

Enis Berberoğlu BRATISLAVA / Hürriyet

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Turkey will continue its oil trade with the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in northern Iraq, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdoğan has said, while confirming the trade as legitimate.

Turkey is supporting its neighbor in its need to trade and buying petrol in return, he said during an interview with reporters on his way back from a mission to Eastern Europe yesterday. Below are his responses to questions from journalists.

Is Turkey signing a broad energy agreement with northern Iraq?

The central government wants to keep everything under its control. At this point they say they could do anything if the regional administration in northern Iraq does not withdraw from such business.
“We would give gasoline if they want, we would give diesel if they want,” they say.
But we do not have a [stance] about this [dispute], despite the American inclusion.

America says you are doing wrong.

No, we believe this is included in the [Iraqi] constitution. Because northern Iraq has an authorization of right on an 18 percent structure it might use this authorization with any country. And we are its neighbor. It has such a need. As their neighbor, we are helping them in meeting this need. In return we buy petrol or such things.

What are your thoughts on Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu’s response to Iraqi PM Noiri al-Maliki?

Maliki began to go too far. Davutoğlu’s remarks were also very hard. When Maliki sent such a message I decided not to respond him, but Davutoğlu did instead. This was Davutoğlu’s response.

Have you had any news from Iraqi President Jalal Talabani?

We only know that his situation is serious. Some say it is serious, some say not.

Will the opposition in Syria talk with President Bashar al-Assad?

The statements by [Syrian National Council Head Sheik Ahmad] Moaz al-Khatib were twisted. Al-Khatib says they would meet a government that does not include al-Assad. Not the one with al-Assad. But they have twisted it and made it look like a contact with al-Assad. Al-Khatib by no means accepts al-Assad, he says they wouldn’t talk. Such a thing cannot happen. But they might sit at the table with the other remnants of the regime. And this is a reflection of the Geneva talks.

And the [Democratic Union Party] PYD is restless because the opposition has started squeezing the PYD. The PYD has a serious problem particularly in Qamishli and Hassake. The opposition is continuing this process [of pressure] very well. The regime is losing power in terms of air control. Of course this does not mean that they do not have any air control.

Some say Turkey should play pioneer role in persuading allies?

Our initial approach about going into such a tour to persuade allies has been talking with the United Nations, the Arab League, the Organization of Islam Conference, Russia and China. But we could not achieve the required result.

Even the Arab League is not yet giving enough support. The U.N. Security Council had unfortunately not taken bunch of steps until its latest meeting in Doha.

It is obvious who donated money at the Doha meeting: the Gulf countries and Saudi Arabia. The sum is said to be $1.3 billion as far as I remember, and a $600 million portion was promised by Saudi Arabia and Qatar alone. But despite all this, I tell you that al-Assad will go. He is not here to stay. The opposition powers are working with all they have today. After the Doha event, the support for them will grow continuously and we are continuing our humanitarian support. Our open gate policy will continue. Our spending so far has surpassed $600 million. In the upcoming period we will keep on locating [refugees] in houses or camps.

How will the process work during a second Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) mission to İmralı?

We will talk on the issue with colleagues tomorrow [Feb. 8]. In the meantime, maybe the MİT chairman might give a talk. He will inform us about the issue.

You had set a March deadline for the work on the new Constitution.

This is the timing for the Parliamentary speaker. We did not set a deadline but this cannot be limitless. Keeping it limitless means diluting the process.


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Notice on comments

mara mcglothin

2/9/2013 3:59:51 PM

AMERICAN AMERICAN You forgot that the USA is not supposed to have their own interests. It is perfectly acceptable for everyone else, just not the evil war mongering West. Didn't you know?


2/9/2013 8:10:51 AM

To the Amerikans: What if Iraq does not want to deal with you? For very obvious reasons! And even if they did, must they deal with you exclusively and no one else? Do you now own Iraq? Is it your land and your resources? I'm pretty sure you think it is but seriously, your misguided! They never asked for your interference to begin with... But because you control all the bombs, you think you control the world. You need to think again. Sad, bully mentality that will not get you very far!!!!

world citizen

2/8/2013 10:41:42 PM

Smart move on the Iraqi front. Interesting he is mentionning the PYD there... Unfortunately the PM decided to support real jihadist groups (not regular FSA) in Ras-Al-Ain to open a second front and prevent Kurdish autonomy under the pretext of PYD. Instead of turning Syrian kurds into allies (like Iraqi kurds), he is nurturing a lot of resentment and trouble there. Not good for Turkey's future...

american american

2/8/2013 6:51:32 PM

ozman should then appreciate america acting in her best interests

mike alexander

2/8/2013 6:43:25 PM

Engin Atik, no to worry we Americans have VERY long memory .......

cezer "çapulcu" skonore

2/8/2013 6:40:27 PM

If he said it is legal, it is legal.

C B Mays

2/8/2013 5:43:48 PM

The Obama administration is hostile to the oil industry no matter where it is. His Administration has opposed the Canadian pipeline in the US which would make oil cheaper to Americans, and has opposed any new drilling on government land. So I am not surprised that they would oppose Turkey buying oil anywhere for that matter. They are more concerned with the habitat of the wildlife than the life of humans.

OZman Cometh

2/8/2013 3:11:07 PM

Looks like Erdogan is acting in the best interests of Türkiye rather than rolling over like previous incumbents. You have to stand your ground and get your voice heard.

Engin Atik

2/8/2013 12:38:39 PM

Erdogan should look at it this way: US created KRG, it took 20 years to create it and it took the lives of many American soldiers(and more than a million Iraqi (Turkmen, Kurd and Arab) lives) The constitution Erdogan is talking about is the product of US efforts.Turkey refused to allow deployment of US soldiers to Northern Iraq from Turkey. US naturally believe that proceeds of this project should benefit US before Turkey. Erdogan cannot convince US otherwise. Erdogan will lose this argument.

two sides to every coin

2/8/2013 12:03:07 PM

Is this not just basically putting or giving money straight to your enemy. Turkey is funding the PKK, and I like the quote from Erdogan (In return we buy petrol or such things) what does he mean by such things!
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