Iraq’s government has warned Turkey it needs Baghdad’s permission to build new pipelines carrying oil and gas from the Kurdish autonomous region in the north, BBC News reported.
Turkey made the deal directly with the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) on Sunday, May 20 without Baghdad’s approval.
Relations between Baghdad and Ankara have deteriorated sharply recently.
Instead, Turkey is focusing on closer ties with the KRG, which is locked in a dispute with Iraq’s central government over who can sell the country’s oil.
Turkey’s decade-long strategy of building friendly, trade-based relations with all its neighbours is unravelling fast.
It is heavily embroiled in efforts to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, a leader it once courted. Its ties with Iran have also cooled, over that country’s nuclear ambitions, Syria, and Turkey’s decision to host part of Nato’s missile defence shield.
Now its problems with Iraq are multiplying. Turkey is sheltering the fugitive Vice-President, Tariq al-Hashemi, the most senior Sunni Arab politician in Iraq, who has been charged with financing death squads.
Ankara has also accused the Iraqi government, which is dominated by Shia parties, of stirring up sectarian tension.
On Sunday, the Turkish government signed a controversial deal to pipe oil and gas directly from Kurdistan in the next 12 months, without the approval of the central government in Baghdad. The KRG also said it planned to barter crude oil with refined petroleum products.
Turkey certainly needs to diversify its energy supplies away from Iran, which is subject to increasingly strict sanctions. But the pipeline deal is provocative given the KRG is locked in a bitter dispute with Baghdad over who has the authority to sell its oil, and over where pipelines should be built, according to BBC News.