News / Middle East

Iraq Seeks Arbitration in Dispute With Turkey over Kurdish Oil Sale

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, left, speaks as his Iraqi counterpart Hoshyar Zebari, listens during a joint press conference in Baghdad, Iraq, Sunday, Nov. 10, 2013
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, left, speaks as his Iraqi counterpart Hoshyar Zebari, listens during a joint press conference in Baghdad, Iraq, Sunday, Nov. 10, 2013
Dorian Jones
— Baghdad has requested legal arbitration in a dispute with Turkey over the sale of Iraqi Kurdish oil. The move comes after the first super tanker of Iraqi Kurdish oil departed from Turkey, despite warnings and threats from Baghdad to not go ahead with the sale. Analysts say the move raises the stakes again in a long-running game of political brinkmanship as Baghdad seeks to thwart Kurdistan's moves towards greater self-sufficiency.

After months of delay and in the face of international warnings, Ankara sold one million barrels of oil piped from the neighboring semi autonomous Iraqi Kurdistan Region.

The sale to an unspecified buyer was made without the consent of the central government in Baghdad. Baghdad had repeatedly warned Ankara any such sale would be illegal.

International relations expert Soli Ozel of Istanbul's Kadir Has University says the sale will further strain bilateral relations.
 
"Relations are already mainly in tatters. The much promised meetings between Maliki and Erdogan, or reciprocal visits, never really took place. It's just part of the ongoing process of bad relations. But obviously there is no petty defiant act on the part of Turkey and that may change the situation qualitatively," said Ozel.

When Turkey's energy minister Taner Yildiz announced the oil sale, he said it was the first of many. Ankara backs the Iraqi Kurdistan Regional government's claim that it has the constitutional right to sell independently newly found energy reserves.

Ankara has said that the proceeds of any such oil sales will be divided between the KRG and Baghdad, in compliance with the Iraqi Constitution. But on Friday, Iraq's Oil Ministry filed a request for arbitration with the Paris-based International Chamber of Commerce.  

Analysts say the KRG is urgently in need of money following Baghdad's decision to cut its budget to punish it for building a pipeline to Turkey. But Sinan Ulgen of the Brussels Carnegie Institution says the dispute ultimately is more about power than money.

"The balance of power between central government and KRG will be affected by that. The KRG will be able to export its oil and gas without every time needing the green light from Baghdad. That will enhance their economic security and that will change the balance of power," said Ulgen.

Concerns about Iraq's territorial integrity have resulted in Washington strongly backing Baghdad and criticizing Ankara over the sale.  State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the U.S. does not support any export without the permission of the federal government of Iraq and warned it has concerns about the impact of such sales.

But international relations expert Ozel says Ankara is flexing its regional diplomatic muscles in a bid to secure an important strategic goal.
 
"Ankara wants to have its way and wants to prove it can have its way. That is number one. Number two, it's very important for Ankara to become a gas and oil and hub and if it cannot do it legally, I think it wants to do it through fait accompli."

But analyst Ulgen claims Baghdad is unlikely to give up without a struggle.

"Baghdad also fears that other regions in Iraq that will follow the same example like Basra and therefore they don't want to set a precedent that in time would weaken the central control over the rest of Iraq's territory."

Until now, Turkey promised it would hold off selling KRG oil until an agreement was reached with Baghdad. Observers claim the timing of Ankara's move could well be connected to the fact that Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Al Maliki is struggling to form a new government.

With any legal challenge to the oil sale predicted to take months if not years, analysts say both the governments of Turkey and the KRG will likely be banking on the fact that the reality on the ground will by then trump any protracted legal challenge.
.

You May Like

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Azad Dewani from: United Kingdom
May 28, 2014 4:43 AM
The US administration is better to consider two facts: (1). All oil revenue in the hand of central government will lead to another dictatorship and another Saddam. The Kurdish people not only the government want strong relations with the US. Kurds prove this during the 2003 war on Iraq and previously. (2). Free exporting of the promising Kurdish oil and gas towards Europe is an advanced step to bypass the unstable Gulf route infected by Jihadist anti-Western disease!

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debatei
X
Shelley Schlender
July 24, 2014 6:43 PM
In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Death Toll From Israel-Gaza Conflict Surpasses 700

Gaza officials say a shelling hit a compound housing a United Nations-run school in the Gaza Strip, killing more than a dozen people, during an Israeli offensive in the area. Heavy fighting between the Israeli military and Hamas militants continued on Thursday, pushing up the death toll. So far, more than 730 Palestinians and 35 Israelis have been killed in the conflict. VOA's Scott Bobb has the latest from Jerusalem.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Researchers Target Low-Cost Avatar Technology

Scientists at the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies say 3-dimensional representations could revolutionize social media. Elizabeth Lee has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid