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Turkey says it helped Iraq with oil exports

Turkish energy minister shrugs off Baghdad's complaints.

By Daniel J. Graeber
Shipments of Kurdish oil from a Turkish sea port should help Iraq, Turkish energy minister says. UPI/Stephen Shaver
Shipments of Kurdish oil from a Turkish sea port should help Iraq, Turkish energy minister says. UPI/Stephen Shaver | License Photo

ANKARA, Turkey, June 3 (UPI) -- Turkey is doing its neighbors in Iraq a favor by hosting the first shipment of oil from the semiautonomous Kurdish north, the Turkish energy minister said.

The semiautonomous Kurdistan Regional Government in May announced its first delivery of more than 1 million barrels of oil from the Turkish sea port at Ceyhan. Iraq said the shipment violates the nation's constitution and blames Ankara for making internal rows over oil worse.

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Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz said he opposed to Baghdad's objections as income from the oil sales would be distributed among the Iraqis themselves.

"Would it be better for Iraq if Turkey wasn't letting Iraqi oil to flow through it? It wouldn't," he said Monday. "We are a neighbor, friend and fraternal country that is laying the basis for the transmission of Iraqi oil to world markets."

The central Iraqi government in Baghdad said it's the State Oil Marketing Organization that has the sole right to handle exports, accusing Ankara of facilitating illegal activity.

KRG said it's operating according to the rules spelled out in the Iraqi Constitution.

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Though the Kurdish oil has left port, it's unclear if it's been actually sold.

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