Turkey denies rift with Iraq over energy issues as FM holds talks in Ankara
ANKARA - Anadolu Agency
All mutual projects will make great contributions to the wellbeing of Turkey and Iraq as well as the region, Energy Minister Yıldız said during an event yesterday. AA photoTurkey is carrying out many projects worth around 5.5 billion in the southern parts of Baghdad, Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yıldız said yesterday, ahead of the expected Ankara visit by Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari today.
“All mutual projects will make great contributions to the wellbeing of the two countries as well as the region. As we have always said since the beginning, any of our agreements with Baghdad or the northern Iraq was for the sake of all Iraqi people,” Yıldız said during an international energy conference in Ankara.
Yıldız noted that he and his Iraqi counterpart, Sheristani, had talked about the mutual projects in detail in South Korea a couple of weeks ago.
“We do not make any comment about the distribution of rights in the Iraqi constitution. If they made an arrangement under which 83 percent of oil export revenue went to Baghdad and the remaining 17 percent to the northern Iraq, we show our respect and we take this into consideration in the projects we make,” Yıldız said, adding that he and Sheristani could meet soon.
Iraqi Foreign Minister Zebari is expected to arrive in Ankara today to conduct a series of meetings with Turkish officials, including his Turkish counterpart Ahmet Davutoğlu, according to the latest announcements.
The Turkish and Iraqi governments have appeared to be bidding to improve bilateral ties with a series of high-level visits.
Tensions between the two countries have soured considerably in recent years due to oil agreements signed by Turkey with the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) of northern Iraq, without the consent of the central Iraqi government. President Abdullah Gül also recently met with Iraqi Vice President Hudayr al-Huzai in New York on the sidelines of U.N. General Assembly meetings.
Iraqi Kurdistan has sought to establish a pipeline that would give it access to international energy markets, and has sent crude across the border to neighboring Turkey, also signing deals with a number of foreign energy firms. Iraq, however, has responded by vowing to take legal action against the deals in a bid to halt crude oil sales to Turkey.
“It is Iraq’s domestic problem to question which pipeline is tied where within Iraqi borders. It is out of the question for us to make such comments like the pipeline should be tied there or elsewhere,” Yıldız noted.
Yıldız also said Turkey’s oil and gas deals had continued in the southern parts of Baghdad and the Iraqi central government was happy with this situation.