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Turkey’s Erdogan Meets Iraqi Kurdish Leader on Oil Exports

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan met Nechirvan Barzani, prime minister of the semi-autonomous Kurdish region in northern Iraq and discussed expanding energy cooperation.

Iraq’s Kurds are hoping to start pumping oil to Turkey before the end of this year via a pipeline controlled by the central government in Baghdad, Barzani of the Kurdistan Regional Government said upon his arrival in Ankara yesterday, according to CNNTurk television today.

Turkey and Iraq’s Kurds are also working on contracts to expand the operations of state-backed Turkish Energy Company, which holds exploration licenses in 13 blocks in northern Iraq. They are also discussing the construction of a natural gas pipeline between Turkey and the neighboring Kurdish region, the Energy Ministry said.

Erdogan and Barzani today postponed signing agreements until after Barzani travels to Baghdad to brief Iraq’s central government on progress, NTV television said, citing Erdogan’s office.

Turkey is seeking to develop ties with all sides in Iraq, Erdogan said during the meeting, state-run Anatolia news agency reported today. Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki would visit Turkey soon, Erdogan said, adding that he also would like to visit Baghdad and Erbil in northern Iraq, Anatolia said. Maliki is expected to visit Ankara next month, the Energy Ministry said.

Turkey wants to fully utilize the Baghdad-controlled pipeline through which Iraqi Kurds are expected to start pumping oil to Turkey’s Mediterranean oil terminal of Ceyhan. It separately wants to build a new oil pipeline to carry oil from Basra to Turkey, Energy Minister Taner Yildiz said yesterday.

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