Turkey threat­ens Iraqi Kurds with oil cut

Otago Daily Times - - Weekend World -

ER­BIL/ANKARA: Turkey threat­ened po­ten­tially crip­pling re­stric­tions on oil trad­ing with Iraqi Kurds yes­ter­day af­ter they backed in­de­pen­dence from Bagh­dad in a ref­er­en­dum that has alarmed Ankara as it faces a sep­a­ratist in­sur­gency from its own Kur­dish mi­nor­ity.

Iraq’s Kurds en­dorsed se­ces­sion by nine to one in a vote ear­lier this week that has an­gered Turkey, the cen­tral gov­ern­ment in Bagh­dad, and other re­gional and world pow­ers, who fear the ref­er­en­dum could lead to re­newed con­flict in the re­gion.

Iraqi Prime Min­is­ter Haider al­Abadi’s of­fice said he had been told by Turk­ish Prime Min­is­ter Bi­nali Yildirim in a call that Turkey would break with past prac­tice and deal only with the Bagh­dad Gov­ern­ment over oil ex­ports from Iraq.

Most oil that flows through a pipe­line from Iraq to Turkey comes from Kur­dish sources and a cut­off would se­verely dam­age the Kur­dish Re­gional Gov­ern­ment, which re­lies on sales of crude for al­most all its hard cur­rency rev­enues.

A In­ter­na­tional flights to and from Iraq’s Kur­dis­tan re­gion were set to end from 1500 GMT yes­ter­day af­ter the cen­tral gov­ern­ment im­posed a ban in re­tal­i­a­tion for the re­gion’s vote for in­de­pen­dence.

Al­most all for­eign air­lines sus­pended flights to the air­ports of Er­bil and Su­laimaniya, in com­pli­ance with a no­tice from the Gov­ern­ment in Bagh­dad, which has con­trol over the coun­try’s airspace. — Reuters

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