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Turkey keen on KRG oil

July 17, 2012 at 6:35 AM

ISTANBUL, Turkey, July 17 (UPI) -- It's unlikely that Turkey will back away from energy ties with the semiautonomous Kurdish government in Iraq as pressure on Iran grows, an analyst said.

The central government in Baghdad expressed frustration with the Kurdistan Regional Government after truckloads of oil began moving through northern Iraq to Turkey. Iraq lacks legislation that governs its energy sector effectively and Baghdad says unilateral action from the KRG is illegal.

Kurdish officials said they're doing nothing to violate the national constitution. The Kurdish government has signed deals with international oil companies like Exxon Mobil despite disputes with Baghdad.

Sinan Ulgen, director of the Edam research center in Istanbul, told Voice of America that it's unlikely that Ankara would bow to pressure from the government of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

"In the long run Turkey is looking at the opportunities in northern Iraq in order to allay some of its concerns over energy imports," said Ulgen. "So from that perspective in the medium and long term it will provide an alternative to Turkey's dependency on Iran."

Sanctions pressure on Iran makes it difficult for customers to maintain strong energy ties with Tehran.

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