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Turkey driven by 'greed' in Kurd oil row: Iraq deputy PM

In this May 31, 2009 file photo, employees work at the Tawke oil field in the semiautonomous Kurdish region in northern Iraq. (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban, File)

BAGHDAD: Turkey has been "driven by greed" in an escalating row over oil pumped from Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region and shipped overseas, Baghdad's top politician responsible for energy told AFP Sunday.

"We believe Turkey has been driven by greed to try to lay (its) hands on cheap Iraqi oil," Hussein al-Shahristani, deputy prime minister responsible for energy affairs, said in an interview.

"They have facilitated this smuggling, and obviously this has undermined the relationship" between the two countries, said Shahristani, himself a former oil minister.

Speaking from his office in Baghdad's heavily fortified Green Zone, he continued: "We had reached a fairly good level of cooperation before Turkey's greed has taken over and allowed itself to help in smuggling Iraqi crude."

Turkey announced last month that oil pumped from the three-province Kurdistan region had been shipped to international markets, dramatically escalating a long-simmering row between Iraq and both Ankara and Kurdish authorities in Arbil.

Baghdad subsequently filed an arbitration case with the Paris-based International Chamber of Commerce.

 

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