Iraq Warns Turkey Over Kurdistan Oil Deal

Iraq Warns Turkey Over Kurdistan Oil Deal | Says pact could damage trade relations

The latest in a long line of clashes of the oil reserves in Iraqi Kurdistan, the Iraqi central government is warning neighboring Turkey today against continuing on with a negotiated oil pact with the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), saying it could dramatically harm the trade relations between the two nations.

“Oil and gas are the property of all Iraqis and those exports and revenues must be managed by the federal government,” insisted Ali al-Dabbagh, the spokesman for Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

Turkey negotiated the deal with the KRG in May, bypassing Maliki’s government at a time when Maliki’s relationship with the Kurds was falling apart. Kurdistan halted all exports to Iraq the month prior, complaining the central government was not following through on any of their deals and hadn’t paid them in nearly a year.

Questions about Kurdistan’s ability to sell its own oil have been a major stressor in their relationship with the federal government. Since most of Iraq’s government funding has come from oil sales, it is likely this will continue to be a major issue between the two governments. Since trade with Iraq is almost exclusively oil coming out of Kurdistan, the central government’s options against Turkey are limited.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of

  • jeff_davis

    In the new Iraqi constitution, Kurdistan has the right to hold a referendum on complete independence, which if successful, would make possible a completely independent separate country of Kurdistan.

    So why haven't they done it?

    One reason that's been stated was that Turkey would not permit it and would attack. Yet, the Kurds among all Iraqis loved the American presence, and would unquestionably (my view) welcome a robust continuing presence of American forces on their territory, one benefit of which would be the prevention of any trouble arising from Turkish opposition.

    America would get its bases in the mid-east, and the Kurds would get their independence and control — wouldn't have to share it — of substantial oil income.

    So I don't get it. Possibly the US doesn't want to antagonize the new Iraqi regime in this wobbly formative moment.