Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdistan region has slammed the country’s central government for its legal action against Turkey over Kurdistan’s export of oil to international markets without Baghdad’s consent.
The Kurdish Ministry of Natural Resources said in a statement on Sunday that Baghdad’s move was “self-defeating” and “illegitimate.”
The condemnation came after Iraq’s Oil Ministry filed a request for arbitration against Turkey and its state-owned pipeline operator, BOTAS, with the International Chamber of Commerce in Paris on May 23. Baghdad’s legal action came only a day after Turkey said it started exporting oil supplies from the Iraqi Kurdistan region to international markets.
The Kurdistan region has sent about 2.5 million barrels of oil to Turkey, being stored in storage tanks at Ceyhan port.
Iraq’s Oil Ministry said in a statement on May 23 that the transportation and storage of Kurdistan’s oil in Turkey came without its authorization, and Ankara and BOTAS “have breached their obligations under the Iraq-Turkey Pipeline Agreement.”
The Kurdish Ministry of Natural Resources, however, said that the oil “is… now prepared to damage Iraq’s relations with Turkey and other friends of Iraq.”
A long-running dispute has been going on between Iraq’s central government and Kurdistan over the control of oil exports in the semi-autonomous region. Baghdad says oil sales should be overseen by the central government and considers any independent oil exports tantamount to smuggling.