Iraq says Turkey must end 'illegal'
Kurdistan oil exports
July 15, 2012
BAGHDAD, — Turkey must stop accepting
"illegal" transfers of crude oil from the autonomous
Kurdistan region of northern Iraq or risk damaging
bilateral ties, government spokesman Ali Dabbagh
warned on Sunday.
His remarks were the latest sign of cooling ties
between Ankara and Baghdad, as well as between the
central government and the autonomous Kurdish region
over oil exports.
"Turkey must stop the unauthorised export of oil
through its land," Dabbagh said in an e-mailed
statement. "Exporting oil from the Kurdistan region
to Turkey is illegal."
He warned that Turkey was contributing to the
"smuggling of Iraqi oil" and said: "This matter will
affect relations between the two countries,
especially economic relations, which will be
Dabbagh added: "This oil and gas is the property of
all Iraqis and it must be exported by, and its
revenues go to, the federal government, which
represents all Iraqis."
A Kurdish official said a week ago that Iraqi
Kurdistan had begun sending oil produced in its
three-province region out of Iraq without the
express permission of the central government.
"We started exporting limited quantities of crude
oil to Turkey a few days ago," Seerwan Abubaqr, an
adviser to the Kurdistan regional government's
natural resources ministry, told AFP.
He said the crude was being exported to Turkey so it
could be refined into various products before being
brought back to Iraqi Kurdistan.
"If we need to, we will export oil to Iran," Abubaqr
added. "We will continue exports of crude oil until
the central government provides the region with oil
"The central government has pushed us to do this."
Kurdish officials say the central government has
barred the dispatch of petroleum products to the
northern region, but the oil ministry in Baghdad has
persistently denied those allegations.
Ties between Iraq and Turkey, which had been
improving, have cooled considerably since December,
particularly over Turkey's refusal to extradite
Iraq's fugitive Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi,www.ekurd.net
who is currently on trial in absentia on charges he
ran a death squad.
The extradition spat added to a deterioration of
ties between the two countries, which summoned
Ankara's envoy to Baghdad twice in a single month to
complain over different incidents.
And a dispute over oil between Baghdad and the
Kurdish government in Erbil has also worsened, with
Kurdistan looking to ramp up oil production and
export capabilities, and the region has also cut off
oil exports to Iraq in a payment row.
Erbil has signed dozens of contracts with foreign
oil firms aimed at boosting its oil sector. But the
central government, which says all oil contracts
must go through Baghdad and regards any that do not
as illegal, has strenuously opposed such deals.
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