Price of “Kurdistan’s” independence - oil agreement for 50 years?
Trend Arab News Service head Rufiz Hafizoglu
During a visit of the head of the Kurdish regional government (KRG) in northern Iraq, Massoud Barzani, to Turkey the sides discussed a number of issues, including measures against terrorist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which turned into a headache for both sides.
Most of the Kurdish leader's meetings with officials from Turkey and a meeting with former Iraqi Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi were held behind closed doors.
On the second day of his visit to Ankara after talks with Turkish President Abdullah Gul Barzani made not new, but this time more important statement.
Barzani said he would not allow the terrorist PKK to dominate the territory controlled by the KRG in northern Iraq. However he noted that weapons can not solve the problem of the PKK, more effective option is needed. He said he will continue to exert pressure on the terrorist organization.
Of course, Barzani statements do not mean that the PKK, which poses itself as the defender of the Kurds, will soon abandon armed resistance. However, if we look at political changes happening in the region, especially in recent years, it can be noticed that the PKK's armed resistance is not in the interests of the KRG in northern Iraq, because it can lead to instability in northern Iraq, achieved thanks to the policy of Barzani. That could pose a serious threat to the future of at least partially independent Kurdish administration in Iraq.
At the same time we can not exclude that during the talks in Turkey, Barzani discussed the establishment of a Kurdish state in northern Iraq. In this connection it is worth recalling that previously Barzani announced the imminent appearance on a map of the region of an independent Kurdish state.
Many political analysts even argue that the establishment of a Kurdish state is not contrary to the interests of Ankara. However, without a doubt, in exchange, Turkey will put forward specific requirements to the KRG.
One of these requirements is a joint action to eliminate the PKK. However, Ankara realizes that this requirement will not be as effective and for this reason, in exchange for a "green light" put forward more serious requirement.
There is a reason to believe that this requirement is related to oil, located in the KRG-controlled territory, and that this issue was discussed during a meeting of Barzani with the Turkish officials.
Some Turkish media, citing diplomatic sources, reported that in exchange for recognition of "independence" of Kurdistan Turkey requires 50 percent of oil produced in the territory controlled by the KRG, and for a period of 50 years. But, according to sources, Barzani has not accepted this offer.
This is not surprising, because it is very important for new "independent Kurdistan" state to have economic power. For this it needs to retain control over its oil fields. The Ankara's offer does not suit Barzani also because there is a suitable alternative - Syria, which has access to the sea, and therefore to the world market. In this situation, the KRG is unlikely to share its wealth with Turkey.
Even if the KRG in northern Iraq cooperates with Ankara for its future security, it will not agree on such serious concessions in the oil issue.
The issue of why until now the Kurdish administration has not declared independence is not due to KRG fears of Ankara and Baghdad.
The KRG is waiting for the end of the Syrian crisis, because not only the Gulf's Arab states, but also the KRG are interested in the change of government in Damascus.
There is a strong likelihood that after the regime change in Syria Kurds, who live compactly in the north of the country, will make efforts to gain autonomy or independence within Syria.
Even the Turkish opposition leader, chairman of the Republican People's Party, Kamal Kilicdaroglu in his last statement noted that in the case of military intervention in Syria, as the United States wants it, the Kurdish region in the country will gain sovereignty.
Naturally, this can not be ignored also by Ankara and the KRG in northern Iraq. It is for this reason that the KRG is waiting.