Turkey avoids getting involved with dispute between Iraqi Kurds and Baghdad on oil deal
ANKARA – Hürriyet Daily News
Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu (L) met with his Iraqi counterpart Hoshyar Zebari. AA PhotoAnkara avoids interfering with an ongoing dispute between the central government of Iraq and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) over the latter’s plans to export oil abroad via Turkey.
Turkey, instead, prefers to see the outcome of ongoing talks between parties with an “I do not want to influence the process” attitude, a Turkish official told Hürriyet Daily News.
The issue came up at a meeting between Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu and his Iraqi counterpart Hoshyar Zebari on Jan. 17. Minister Davutoğlu expressed Turkey’s will for an immediate solution to the dispute.
The Turkish government has been saying it sides with a peaceful solution to be reached with Baghdad and Arbil, asserting it has no interest in interfering with the Iraqi governments’ business.
The KRG announced crude had begun to flow through the pipeline, and exports were on track to start at the end of January, inviting bidders to register with the Kurdistan Oil Marketing Organization (KOMO).
Baghdad rejected the situation as a violation of the constitution and on Jan. 15, reiterating Iraq’s State Oil Marketing Organization (SOMO) had exclusive rights to sell crude from Iraqi Kurdistan and the rest of the country.
Deputy Prime Minister Hussein al-Shahristani, the top official responsible for energy affairs, summoned Efe Ceylan last week over the announcement by the autonomous Kurdish region that its first shipment of crude oil sent directly to Turkey had gone on sale, with more expected to follow.
Iraq will take legal and other measures to punish Turkey and Iraqi Kurdistan, as well as foreign companies, for any involvement in Kurdish exports of “smuggled” oil without Baghdad’s consent, the Iraqi Oil Minister Abdul Kareem Luaibi said on Jan. 17.