News / Middle East

    Turkey, Iraqi Kurdistan Seal 50-Year Energy Deal

    FILE - Kurdistan Regional Government Natural Resources Minister Ashti Hawrami, right, shakes hands with Turkey's Energy Minister Taner Yildiz, Irbil, Iraq, May 2012.
    FILE - Kurdistan Regional Government Natural Resources Minister Ashti Hawrami, right, shakes hands with Turkey's Energy Minister Taner Yildiz, Irbil, Iraq, May 2012.
    Dorian Jones
    Turkey and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in Iraq on Wednesday announced the signing of a 50-year deal to export Kurdish oil to the north.

    KRG Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani unveiled the deal during a speech to Iraqi Kurdistan's parliament in Irbil, capital of the Kurdish-dominated region in northern Iraq.

    The agreement comes amid growing international criticism over the deepening relationship between Iraq's Kurdish region and Turkey — a relationship that bypasses Iraq's central government, straining Baghdad's relations with Irbil and Ankara.

    In the opinion of Emre Iseri, a political scientist and energy expert at Turkey's Yasar University in Izmir, Iraq's energy-rich Kurdish region and energy-hungry Turkey are a perfect match.

    "Turkey would like to become a regional energy hub, and so Turkey would like to diversify away from Russia and Iran," he said. "It also is thinking about its current account deficit and thinks that it can acquire cheaper oil and natural gas prices from Iraqi Kurdistan."

    But Baghdad officials insist only Iraq's central government has the right to export Iraqi crude. Baghdad recently announced plans to take legal action against Ankara at the International Chamber of Commerce’s International Court of Arbitration in Paris. Iraqi officials have said any contracts between Kurdish authorities and foreign energy firms violate Iraq's constitution and are illegal unless formally sanctioned by Baghdad.

    While Irbil rejects that position, Ankara has been trying to placate Baghdad for months. According to Soli Ozel, political columnist for the Turkish newspaper Haberturk, Ankara's efforts have largely failed.

    "Baghdad protests it and [is] going to court about this," he said. "Obviously they have not looked favorably [on] such transactions and have not changed their minds about it. And the Americans registered their discontent, but that’s where we stand now."

    Washington has repeatedly voiced criticism of Ankara’s direct dealings with Irbil, warning it could threaten Iraq's territorial integrity, a position rejected by both Irbil and Ankara. 

    Some analysts say the KRG is in urgent need of funds from energy sales because Baghdad cut funding to the Kurdish region over its unilateral dealings with Ankara. 

    With Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki still struggling to form a government following general elections, analysts say Irbil and Ankara could be seeking to exploit the prevailing political instability. However, some say the formation of a new government in Baghdad could lead to greater pressure on both Irbil and Ankara over their deepening energy cooperation.

    "The northern Iraqi line seems to be a secure and reliable line at the moment," said Semih Idiz, diplomatic columnist for Al Monitor and the Turkish newspaper Taraf. Whatever the political climate, Idiz says, there will be no turning back.

    "[The deal] ties in with other factors [that are related to] Turkey’s own Kurdish problems," he said, explaining the agreement is also a result of regional volatility and strained ties between Baghdad and Ankara. "There [are] political reasons, strategic reasons and also economic reasons for this. And Turkey has been steadily pushing forward with this project, [which indicates] that it is more or less a done deal."
     
    The first batch of Kurdish oil, with an estimated market value of $110 million, was transported through Turkey on May 23. Turkey and the KRG have said the flow of Kurdish oil to international markets will continue despite Iraq's legal efforts to stop it.

    You May Like

    Video Somali, AU Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    Somalia’s Western backers frustrated over country’s slow progress in establishing its armed forces to bring security after 25 years of chaos

    Israel Makes Push for Gaza Strip Recovery

    After years of economic blockade and attempts to disable Hamas, Israeli leaders eventually realized that Hamas’ downfall could lead to chaos or the rise of a more radical Jihadist group

    Slump in Chinese Tourists Hitting Hong Kong Retail

    Mainland Chinese account for up to three-quarters of visitors to Hong Kong, but that number is falling, and shopping centers are struggling to 'shift gears' and maintain sales

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shababi
    X
    Henry Ridgwell
    April 28, 2016 4:20 PM
    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Town Receives Refugees but Lacks Resources

    A wave of refugees is pouring into the Kurdish town of Afrin in northern Syria as a result of fighting between rebel forces and Islamic State militants. VOA’s Amina Misto went to the town and reports local authorities are finding it difficult to cope with this influx of internally displaced people. Bronwyn Benito narrates her report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Build Human Tissue on Animal Matrix

    The question has always been, if a gecko can grow back its tail, why can't we regenerate our lost body parts? Well, maybe we can, someday. Scientists are moving towards the ability to rebuild fully functioning organs, and have made significant progress replacing muscles and other tissue.
    Video

    Video Containing Chernobyl Radiation Continues 30 Years After Explosion

    April 26 marks the 30th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. Hundreds were killed following the explosion and it's estimated that thousands more have died from cancers caused by the radiation. Henry Ridgwell traveled to Chernobyl and reports for VOA on the continuing efforts to decommission the site -- and on the fledgling plans for a new future in the vast exclusion zone.
    Video

    Video Frustration Builds Among Refugees Trapped at Macedonian Border

    On the Greek border with Macedonia, 12,000 refugees continue to wait. Since the route to the rest of Europe was closed last month, the makeshift camp at Idomeni has seen protests and tear gas. But while those here wait, their frustration grows — as do reports of people attempting to find new ways of continuing their journey. John Owens reports from Idomeni.
    Video

    Video Researchers: Bees Help Kenyan Farmers Fend Off Elephants

    Elephant crop-raiding continues to be a major source of human-wildlife conflict in Kenya, so one elephant researcher is helping to alleviate the problem near Tsavo East National Park with beehive fences, which use elephants’ natural aversion to bees to deter them from farms. VOA’s Jill Craig visited the area ahead of this month's Giants Club Summit, which will bring together dignitaries at Mount Kenya to find solutions to combat poaching, the No. 1 threat to elephants.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora