News / Middle East

Iraq Warns Turkey Over Kurdistan Oil Ties

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, right, and Nechirvan Idris Barzani, head of Regional Government of Iraqi Kurdistan, meet in Ankara, Nov. 27, 2013.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, right, and Nechirvan Idris Barzani, head of Regional Government of Iraqi Kurdistan, meet in Ankara, Nov. 27, 2013.
Dorian Jones
Iraq is warning Turkey not to follow through on an oil deal with the Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), which is expected to start exporting oil to Turkey as early as next month.
Baghdad officials have voiced strong opposition to any energy deals between Ankara and the KRG, insisting that only they have authority to make energy deals, a claim disputed by both Ankara and the KRG.
According to Sinan Ulgen, a visiting scholar Carnegie Institute in Brussels, energy cooperation between Ankara and the KRG is deepening, and shipments could start soon.
"There has been, now and even very recently, a set of ambitious agreements between Ankara and the KRG regarding the leveraging of these oil and gas resources," he said.
Ankara and the KRG have, for several years, been negotiating a comprehensive energy deal, involving energy purchases, construction of pipelines, and resource exploration. Ankara sees the neighboring region's oil and gas wealth as a solution to its growing energy needs.
Turkey has little energy reserves of its own and has been seeking to diversify its dependence on Russia and Iran.
According to Semih Idiz, diplomatic columnist for the Turkish newspaper Taraf and the Al Monitor website, concern over Turkish cooperation with the KRG is not confined only to Baghdad.

"One of the accusations leveled at Turkey because of its ties with the Kurds, both by Baghdad and Washington, [is that] it's actually in a divisive mode as far of the territorial integrity of Iraq is concerned," he said. "So I think Baghdad will be looking for steps from Turkey that reinforce that territorial integrity and not weaken it and not put it in question."
In a bid to alleviate those tensions, KRG Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani, who met Wednesday with Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan, is expected to visit Baghdad.
Efforts to resolve tentions

Turkey's energy cooperation with the KRG has been a key factor behind years of tensions with Baghdad, but in the last few weeks there have been intense efforts to repair relations. Turkish foreign ministry spokesman Levent Gumrukcu says those efforts have created a better environment to resolve differences.
"Among friends — neighbors among friends — there might be disagreements, but the important thing is to be able to have mature and meaningful dialogue, and I think that is what we have now the Iraqi government," he said. "Sometimes we agree to disagree, but we try to engage in a dialogue as much as possible."
Some energy experts say the KRG could eventually, with Turkish support, become a major world energy exporter. Such potential would not only play a crucial role in helping to meet Turkey’s energy needs but would also contribute to making it an important international energy hub, a strategic goal of Ankara.
Analyst Ulgen says with or without Baghdad’s consent, cooperation between Ankara and the KRG will continue to grow.
"Turkey's position is that Baghdad cannot continue to obstruct the deal between Turkey and the KRG. But it will be much easier and less problematic and much more predictable if Baghdad is also on board," he said. "But [Turkey] does not want to give the right of veto overall to Baghdad, because this is quite an important issue for Turkey to have this energy relationship in place."

KRG Prime Minister Barzani said this week the first oil shipments to Turkey could start by the end of the year.
Observers warn that gives little time to resolve the current impasse.

You May Like

Video Americans, Tourists, Reflect on Meaning of Thanksgiving

VOA garnered opinions from several people soon after November 13 Paris attacks, which colored many of their thoughts

Video Thais Send Security Concerns Down the River

In northern Thailand, the annual tradition of constructing floating baskets to carry away the year’s bad spirits highlights the Loy Krathong festival

Video Tree Houses - A Branch of American Dream

Workshops aimed at teaching people how to build tree houses have become widely popular in America in recent years

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: Mohsin from: Amin
November 28, 2013 11:31 PM
In Response

by: Kimberly Smythe from: USA
November 29, 2013 11:07 AM
hey idiot, "America" wants you to have sovereignty over your own resources. We support your hope for free Kurdistan. We want you to live free in your own home. The people who withhold your freedom and oppress you are the degenerate Iranians who subverted Iraq. do you understand??? Iran is in control of Iraq..!!
we are trying to protect you from the Hizbullah and the IRGC and other Shia terrorist organizations that will be happy to rape your daughters and slaughter you - but since you are an Arab Kurd - a Kardashian... you are stupid by definition... just like the imbecilic Iranians...

by: Nikos from: Greece
November 28, 2013 2:16 PM
please do not believe a word that the Turkys are saying. They are as deceitful as the ugly Iranians.
In Response

by: Mike Jones from: Windsor, Berkshire
November 29, 2013 7:01 AM
Beware of Greeks bearing gifts (or advice).

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continuesi
Ayesha Tanzeem
November 25, 2015 10:46 PM
One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continues

One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs