Turkey-KRG Energy Relations: The Dispute Over Kurdistan’s Oil Sale To Turkey

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The end of Cold War brought about a change of order in the international system as well as in Middle East regional security. Saddam’s Iraq was labelled by the US as a “rogue state” along with Iran and North Korea. In order to contain Saddam’s regional ambitions, in 1991, Washington launched military operations and economic sanctions. In the aftermath of the war, the coalition forces announced a “no flying zone”, which further weakened Baghdad’s control in Iraqi Kurdistan. During the war, Turkish Prime Minister, Turgut Özal, was the main architect of the US-led operation against Saddam Hussein regime. Turkey’s foreign policy towards the Iraqi Kurds was aimed at protecting them from Saddam’s brutal regime. As a result Turkey made a “de facto” alliance with Mesoud Barzani and Jelal Talabani and signed a unilateral right of “hot pursuit” agreement with the Kurdish Regional Authority in order to maintain its military incursion into Iraq. Turkey has made 28 military incursions into Iraqi territory but has not succeeded in eliminating the PKK. Turkey also launched regional diplomacy in order to defeat the polarization of Kurdish nationalism in the wider Middle East. Consequently, Turkey, Iran and Syria established Tripartite Commissions aimed at eliminating PKK’s military campaigns. However, this regional cooperation did not work due to Iran and Syria’s hosting of Kurdish armed groups.

 

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