With plans to build a pipeline carrying northern Iraqi oil to the global market via Turkish territory, Ankara and Arbil have intensified talks to overcome the Iraqi central government's opposition to the project Hurriyet Daily News reported.
Baghdad is currently opposed to the project as it has yet to work out the necessary arrangements as to how the revenues will be shared between Baghdad and Arbil.
Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani arrived in Turkey on March 14 to hold high-level talks with Turkish officials. Barzani will meet with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara on March 15 after concluding preliminary talks with Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on the same day in the eastern province of Van. Davutoglu has said Barzani's team includes provincial governors of the KRG.
"I met him [Nechirvan Barzani] and [KRG president] Massoud Barzani two weeks ago in Sulaimaniyah. Our meeting in Van will be a follow-up, especially for improving economic relations on the border and facilitating border crossings," Davutoglu told reporters in Van.
Ankara and Arbil have long been discussing deepening energy cooperation with concrete plans to build a pipeline to transport KRG oil and gas to the world market via Turkey. But these plans have faced strong objections from Baghdad and Washington, who urged not to take concrete steps before resolving legal disputes. Nechirvan Barzani held talks with Baghdad recently, but there are no signs of a quick settlement regarding the revenue sharing problem.
In the meantime, Davutoglu and Barzani are expected to give a joint interview to the state Turkish Radio and Television's (TRT) Kurdish station, TRT-Ses, on March 15.