Obviously Kurdistan has been able to convince the central government to devolve some powers to the Kurdish zone or whatever one wants to call it. Turkey very much fears an independent Kurdistan because of the desires of its own Kurdish minority.
Iraq refers Oil deals to Kurds, Angers Turkey
Iraq's oil authority has referred Turkish companies' requests for renewal of their contracts for transportation of oil products to Iraq to Kurdish authorities, prompting an angry reaction from Turkey.
Iraq's State Oil Marketing Organization (SOMO) has refused to renew the contracts of Turkish companies exporting oil products to Iraq and said in a letter to the companies that they should get in touch with authorities in northern provinces if they wanted to renew their agreements, Anatolia news agency said.
But SOMO's letter, signed by Director-General Fallah Al-Amri, drew ire in Ankara. State Minister Kürşat Tüzmen confirmed that some companies had received some "strange" letters saying that they should talk to authorities in the north, while others had been given the same instruction verbally. "SOMO's attitude is unacceptable," said Tüzmen to the Anatolia. "If someone is trying to test Turkey's patience, they will pay a heavy price for this."Turkey says Iraq's territorial integrity must be protected and denounces possible attempts by Iraqi Kurds to create an independent state in north of the country. Ankara also insists that oil and other riches of the country must be governed by Baghdad and the revenues must go to all Iraqis.
"Turkey recognizes an undivided Iraq with territorial integrity. Therefore, we talk to the central Iraqi government and SOMO on oil issues," Tüzmen said. "If some people try to impose certain things on Turkey, they will fail. Turkey never allows such a fait accompli." SOMO's oil move comes amid political tension between Turkey and Iraq over the status of the disputed city of Kirkuk. Ankara has been increasingly vocal over the past weeks in criticizing a planned referendum in 2007 on the fate of Kirkuk and demanding a postponement for the vote.
Turkish authorities say a large number of Kurds from different parts of Iraq have flocked to Kirkuk in recent years, in what they see as an effort to change the demographic composition of the city in their favor ahead of the referendum. Other residents of the city, Turkmen and Arab clans, also complain that Kurdish groups are trying to seize control of the city by sponsoring migration of Kurds.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has recently said Turkey would not allow a "fait accompli" on the fate of Kirkuk and hinted that a military option is also on the table. Kirkuk sits atop six percent of the world's known oil reserves and experts believe the city's control would bring significant leverage to Kurds in their attempts for independence. Iraqi government, in response, criticized Turkey for its interference in Iraqi affairs and said Turkish politicians were trying to stir tension in the north.
Turkey, in line with a past decree issued by the Prime Minister's office, speaks to only the Iraqi government and SOMO on issues related to export of oil production to Iraq.
Tüzmen said officials at the Undersecretariat for Foreign Trade have tried to contact SOMO to discuss the letters sent to the Turkish companies, but that there was no response from the Iraqi authorities. "SOMO officials do not answer phone calls" from the Undersecretariat for Foreign Trade, he said. Tüzmen sent a letter to Iraqi oil minister, criticizing SOMO's letter to Turkish companies and urging the Iraqi side to respect the principles previously agreed upon. "Unilateral decisions that do not respect these principles may negatively affect the ongoing trade of oil products between Turkey and Iraq," Tüzmen said in his letter.
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