Turkish-Iraq border closed after Baghdad suspends oil deliveries
A Turkish-Iraqi border crossing was closed after Baghdad suspended the delivery of heating oil to Kurdish-dominated areas of northern Iraq, local officials in this southwestern Turkish town said Wednesday, September 19.
Baghdad's decision left some 4,000 Turkish trucks that had crossed over to collect heating oil stranded in the northern Iraqi towns of Zakho and Dahuk awaiting a lift on the ban before returning home with their cargo.
Local officials in Sirnak decided to close the Habur crossing so as to avoid a massive bottleneck at the border and prevent more trucks seeking to acquire oil from entering Iraq.
Baghdad decided on Monday to suspend the delivery of the oil to northern regions controlled by Iraqi Kurdish factions since the 1991 Gulf War. The Turkish lorries normally carry food products and return with cooking oil, acquired for a fraction of the price than in Turkey. Some 1,500 trucks normally cross the border in both directions every day.
This limited trade, allowed under the UN's oil-for-food program, allows the population of southwestern Turkey to partially make-up for major financial losses, which resulted from the UN sanctions on its neighbor.
The Turkish government has estimated an economic loss of some $35 billion (€37.8 million) as a result of the sanctions on Iraq. ― (AFP, Sirnak)
© Agence France Presse 2001
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)