Iraq Threatens To Cut Oil Supplies To Turkey

Other News Materials 26 October 2007 08:25

(AHN) - The day after Turkey threatened to level economic sanctions against Iraq if it failed to help stop Kurdish rebel attacks on Turkey, Iraq fired back on Thursday with threats of economic retaliation against Turkey.

Turkey has been plagued by bloody attacks on its civilians and military troops by Kurdish rebels who then return to their bases in northern Iraq. Turkey's parliament last week approved sending its military into Iraq after the rebels, but the government has not done so - yet. Instead, it has asked the United States and Iraq for help in stopping the attacks.

So far, it hasn't gotten help, so yesterday Turkey increased the pressure on Iraq by threatening economic sanctions.

"Northern Iraq cannot be pressured,'' Iraq's Parliament Speaker Mahmoud al-Mashhadani was quoted as saying by Middle East news agency Alalam. Adding that Iraq was a rich country, he warned that it would cut off oil from northern Iraq to Ankara, Turkey if Turkey imposed economic sanctions on Iraq.

Mahmoud al-Mashhadani's comments came a day after Turkey's top leadership agreed to recommend the government take economic measures to force cooperation by Iraqis against Kurdish rebels who have been staging cross-border attacks against Turkish troops.

Al-Mashhadani was referring to two oil pipelines that run from Iraq and supply Turkey's Ceyhan oil terminal on the Mediterranean Sea.

He also said that Iraq was ready to help Turkey secure its borders against the rebels. Turkey and Iraq are linked through trade. Turkish investors are paying for construction work and infrastructure in the self-ruled Kurdish area of northern Iraq. That includes such projects as infrastructure, hospitals and roads. Turkey also sells electricity and food to that area.

But the attacks on Turkey by rebel Kurdish forces threaten all that. While the United States and Iraq have urged Turkey not to wait longer for a peaceful solution and not attack the Kurdish rebels inside Iraq, other nations, such as Syria, have defended Turkey's right to go after the rebels to stop their attacks inside Turkey.