Iraq bans Turkish planes over oil debt owed

Iraq bans Turkish planes over oil debt owed

Iraq bans Turkish planes over oil debt owed

Turkey may sieze Iraqi planes landing on its soil, a court decision says. Hürriyet photo

Baghdad banned Turkish aircraft from landing at Iraqi airports yesterday in reaction to a Turkish court’s requisition order on Iraqi state planes landing in Turkey due to Iraq’s oil debt.

Iraqi companies owe more than 3 million dollars to Turkish companies, a Turkish official told the Hürriyet Daily News yesterday.

“The minister ordered that Turkish airplanes be forbidden from landing in Iraqi airports starting tomorrow [Sunday],” Karim al-Nuri, the media adviser to Iraqi Transport Minister Hadi al-Ameri, told Agence France-Presse on Nov. 19, adding that this included the autonomous Kurdistan region in north Iraq.

“This is a response to a Turkish decision to stop Iraqi airplanes from landing in Turkish airports,” Nuri said.

“The Iraqi stance is right and normal, considering what the Turkish authorities decided to do days ago,” he added.

The Iraqi official said the Turkish decision to ban Iraqi flights stems from a dispute with Iraq’s State Oil Marketing Organization (SOMO) over millions of dollars of debt owed to Turkey. “They did not find a way to put pressure on Iraq except by stopping our airplanes from landing in their airports,” he said.

Turkish officials confirmed a confiscation order issued by a Turkish court over the debt SOMO owes to Turkish companies.

Turkish companies filed a suit against the SOMO due to the organization’s debt and according to the court’s warrant of distress on Iraqi state assets, the Turkish Justice Ministry asked the State Airports Administration for an order to seize any planes belonging to the Iraqi state.

However, no Iraqi planes have been confiscated so far, since Iraqi Airways continues its flights to Turkey via planes hired to a third country, instead of Iraqi state planes, a Turkish official told the Daily News.

Despite Ankara’s warnings on Bagdad, the Iraqi administration insisted on implementing a ban on Turkish planes, the official added