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article imageIraqi PM willing to work on fragile relations with Turkey

By Jody-Lan Castle     Apr 5, 2013 in Politics
Baghdad - The Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki announced on Friday that he would gladly work on reconciling Iraq's relations with Turkey.
"Iraq welcomes any step towards rapprochement with Turkey on the basis of shared interests, mutual respect and good-neighbourliness," he says, according to Reuters.
The comment comes amid a tense time for the two countries, as Turkey continues to negotiate a controversial oil partnership with the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG).
Both Iraq's Central Government in Baghdad and the Kurdish Regional Government claim that they hold the right to decide on the fate of the oil reserves in the Kurdish region, the fourth largest in the world.
Turkey has allegedly been in talks with the Iraqi Kurds over oil export options, leading to a rise in suspicions from Baghdad. The Central Government of Iraq has gone as far as to threaten legal action.
Oil had previously been exported through a pipeline beginning in the Kurdish city of Kirkuk, but was still controlled by Baghdad. But the pipeline ceased when there was a dispute regarding payment in December last year.
The Kurdish Question
The issue of Kurdish identity remains a major part of both Iraqi and Turkish domestic and foreign policies.
The Turkish army has crossed the Iraqi border in search of PKK (Kurdistan Workers' Party) guerrillas on many occasions, the most significant in August 2011. The Turkish army bombed multiple sites believed to be PKK camps over a period of six days.
On the 21st March, Turkey and the PKK finally agreed to a ceasefire, bringing the 30-year war to an end. The conflict, fought over the self-determination of the Kurdish people in Turkey, had claimed the lives of over 40,000 people from both sides.
According to David Gardner of the Financial Times, Turkey's delving into the Kurdish issue has the potential to see the break-up of Iraq and throw the region into turmoil once again.
More about Iraq, Syria, Turkey, Kurdistan, kurdish region
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