TODAY’S – Turkey asks US to lift Kurdish oil blockade

Turkey asks US to lift Kurdish oil blockadeTurkey has requested that the United States remove barriers regarding the purchase of oil coming from Iraqi Kurdistan, according to a report in the Financial Times on Thursday.“This is urgent: ISIS is now selling its oil, but the Kurds are not allowed to sell their oil,” an unnamed Turkish official told the Financial Times, claiming that the insurgent group formerly known as ISIS which now calls itself the “Islamic State” (IS) was selling oil to the Syrian government.

There has also been speculation that smuggled oil from IS is making its way into Turkey and being sold at rates significantly under the market price.US refiner Axeon declined to purchase a shipment of Kurdish oil due to the controversy surrounding the oil, according to the report.

While there is no official US ban on oil originating from anywhere in Iraq, the US has publicly stated that it does not approve of any oil sales conducted independently of thefederal government.After the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) built an independent pipeline skirting Baghdad, the government responded by freezing the KRG’s 17 percent share of the national budget.

The KRG subsequently began shipping its own oil through the new pipeline — which connects to Turkey’s Ceyhan pipeline — saying that Baghdad had left it with no other choice.Reports circulated saying that Israel purchased the first shipment of Kurdish oil that was funneled through Ceyhan however, the KRG denied selling directly or indirectly to the Israelis.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman