Turkey Says Energy Deals With Iraqi Kurds Not Finalized

ANKARA (Xinhua) 1.12.2013 – The Turkish Foreign Ministry said Saturday that Ankara’s energy deals with Iraq’s Kurdish Regional Government (KRG), “which are in line with the Iraqi constitution,” have not been finalized yet.

“Our will and preference is to take this issue within trilateral framework and accomplish it in a way that will serve our peoples’ common interest and prosperity,” said a statement issued by the ministry. In the statement, Turkey expressed its hope that the prospect cooperation would enhance common understanding between the KRG and the Iraqi central government, stressing its willingness to help solve their disputes “through mutual talks” and with respect for ” Iraq’s territory and solidarity.” The statement came after media reports said Iraq closed its northern airspace to Turkish private planes. Earlier, Iraqi authorities did not allow in a plane belonging to Turkey’s General Energy Company, which has been conducting oil exploration in northern Iraq for many years, a Turkish official told Xinhua.

Media reports alleged that Iraqi officials insisted Turkish planes first land in Baghdad before flying again to Erbil. The KRG and Ankara signed six energy contracts during a visit by Iraq’s Kurdish leader Nechirvan Barzani to Turkey, said Hurriyet Daily News. However, Baghdad opposes the signing of any energy deal between Iraqi Kurds and Turkey without its approval. Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz plans to visit Erbil on Monday to attend a conference on oil and natural gas. http://www.aina.org/news/20131130154046.htm