Iraqi Kurdish autonomy: Turkey’s old neighbor and new partner

Trend Arabic News Service commentator Aygul Taghiyeva

The ties between Turkey, Iraq and the Kurdish autonomy has been recently become a new topic for media discussions. A lot of articles about the beginning of cooperation between the Kurdish administration and Ankara, and as a result, deteriorating the relations between
Turkey and Baghdad have been published.

The relations between Turkey and Iraq have become more strained after a rather violent dispute between the prime ministers of these countries. Turkey accused al-Maliki's government of dictates. The latter regarded the statements as interference in the country's
internal affairs.

Turkey has started cooperating with the Kurdish autonomy in the oil industry that causes the most dispute between the Kurdish administration and Iraq's central government.

The information that the Kurdish autonomy started exporting oil to Turkey was confirmed by Turkish Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Taner Yildiz. However, he stressed that imports are made by the private sector.

The main strategy in Turkey's energy policy, which depends on energy imports, is to diversify sources of supply. Thus, Ankara, having the contracts on oil imports with 11 countries, plans to increase the number of oil exporters in the country to 14, while the number of the
countries supplying gas to Turkey will increase from five to nine.

Kurdish autonomy, having over a third of Iraq's oil reserves, is looking for a partner in the region by cooperating with the U.S. The autonomy could enter the world energy market and establish itself politically thanks to the U.S support.

The cooperation between Turkey and Iraqi Kurdish autonomy is based on mutual benefit. Turkey needs additional volumes of hydrocarbons. It acquired a new source of supply, despite the protest of the Iraqi central government. It seems that Ankara will not pay attention to Baghdad's threat of boycotting the projects between Turkey and the Kurdish administration.

Turkey's economic interests in Iraq include extracting at Mansuriya and Siba fields. The contract on them was signed in 2011. Moreover, Turkish oil company TPAO received a license to develop the field in Basra province in the fourth round of issuing the licenses to develop oil fields in Iraq.

However, on the other hand, the cooperation between Turkey and Iraqi Kurdish autonomy is strengthened by political motives. The autonomy leader Massoud Barzani has recently announced the start of the negotiations with the leaders of the terrorist Kurdistan Workers'
Party to stop terror attacks in Turkey. According to media, he has already managed to convince 4,000 PKK militants to lay down their arms.

The issue of Kurdish terrorists remains Turkey's main problem in internal policy. It can effectively combat terrorism with the support of the Kurdish administration. Moreover, the cooperation with Baghdad in this issue gave no results.

Proceeding from the above-mentioned information, the cooperation between Turkey and Kurdish autonomy has a good ground for the development. The Kurdish administration may become Turkey's new partner in political and economic arenas in the region.

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