Iraq freezes licenses of Turkish businesses

Iraq freezes licenses of Turkish businesses

ISTANBUL – Hürriyet Daily News
Iraq freezes licenses of Turkish businesses

Ankara’s ties with PM al-Maliki’s Baghdad have been worsening over oil issues. RETUERS photo

The operating licenses of Turkish companies active in Iraq have been halted, Iraq’s Ministry of Trade said yesterday, according to Anatolia news agency.

The licenses have been put aside until further notice while “inspections are conducted and arrangements [made],” the ministry said in a written statement.

It was not immediately clear whether the decision would affect Turkish companies doing business in the north of Iraq, controlled by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). Turkish companies are particularly active in Northern Iraq, which has become a significant trade partner with Turkey.

The decision came as Iraq’s fugitive Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi, who is currently residing in Turkey, defied the verdict of an Iraqi court that sentenced him to death in absentia, on charges that he had run death squads in Iraq, and ruled out returning home until he is guaranteed “security and a fair trial.”

The Turkish government has refused to extradite al-Hashemi, increasing the political tension between the two countries.