Kurdistan exports am estimated 650, 000 barrel of oil per day through Turkey's Ceyhan pipeline. File photo: Rudaw
BAGHDAD, Iraq – The Iraqi government has claimed that Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim has agreed to support all measures taken by Baghdad against Erbil, including closing land and air borders as well bringing Kurdistan’s oil exports under the control of the central government.
The office of the Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi released a statement Thursday following a phone call between the Iraqi and Turkish prime ministers.
Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency reported that the two leaders talked about bilateral relations, the Kurdish referendum, but did not provide more details.
The statement said that PM Yildirim emphasized the Turkish stance in “supporting all measures” taken by the Iraqi government and its parliament against the Kurdistan Region following Monday’s referendum when 92 percent of the people voted to leave Iraq.
Both Turkey and Iraq were against the vote.
PM Yildirim stresses Turkey’s “commitment to cooperate and coordinate fully with the Iraqi government to implement all necessary steps for imposing of federal authorities at land and air ports,” the statement said.
It added that the Turkish PM also stressed their position “for all other decisions, including the export of oil should be through the federal authorities.”
Kurdistan Region exports an estimated 650,000 barrels of oil per day through Turkey’s Ceyhan pipeline independent of Baghdad. Oil is the main source of revenue for the Kurdish government that is now recovering from a financial crisis that plagues the Region since 2014, mainly because Iraq cut its share of the federal budget.
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has also threatened Kurdistan with closing the pipeline, while wondering where else Kurdistan export oil from to the outside world if Turkey did so.
The Turkish Trade and Customs minister also said on Wednesday that their land borders were still open for the moment.
Ankara had already revealed that they comply with the flight ban issued by Baghdad and which is expected to take effect Friday evening. Baghdad says that the ban will suspend all international flight to and from Kurdistan if the Kurdish government rejects to hand over Erbil and Sulaimani airports to federal authorities.
Kurdistan’s minister of transport told Rudaw on Wednesday night that they are ready to negotiate with Baghdad to “understand” the Iraqi decision, while expressing their readiness to allow about 5 to 6 official from Iraq’s civil aviation to “monitor and supervise” thee two airports. He however warned that Erbil has some “good cards” to use against Baghdad if the ban remained in place for a long period.
Iraq, together with Turkey and Iran –two countries with their significant Kurdish population –agreed to take “coordinated measures” against the Kurdish referendum.
The Iraqi parliament called on nations to withdraw their diplomatic missions from Erbil and for Iraqi forces to be deployed to disputed areas that have come under Peshmerga control during the war against ISIS. The measures were part of twelve orders issued by the parliament on Wednesday in response to the Kurdistan independence referendum.
The parliament also called on the government to enforce its control over the oil wells in Kirkuk and disputed areas, bringing them under the charge of Iraq’s Ministry of Oil.