Turkey will drill for oil in northern Iraq, a mainly Kurdish region outside Baghdad's control since the Gulf War, the head of the Turkish state petroleum company TPAO has said, newspapers reported Wednesday, December 12. Speaking at a ceremony in the southeastern Turkish city of Batman Tuesday, Kenan Veziroglu said the company was planning to initially open 10 wells, according to the liberal newspaper Milliyet.
The exploration work was expected to start in January in areas held by the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) of Massoud Barzani, one of the two main factions that administer northern Iraq, protected by a no-fly zone since the Gulf War, the Cumhuriyet daily said.
The KDP, which enjoys close ties with Ankara, controls the region along the Turkish border, while its rival, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) of Jalal Talabani, administers areas close to Iran. Turkey, which sided with the United States during the Gulf War, has in recent months stepped up efforts to boost economic ties with its embargo-hit southern neighbor, an arch foe of the United States.
Turkey, which hosts US and British jets enforcing the no-fly zone over northern Iraq, complains that it has suffered losses of between $35 billion and $40 billion due to the UN sanctions imposed on Baghdad. — (AFP, Ankara)
© Agence France Presse 2001
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )