‘Turkey, US at odds on Iraq resources’

The Turkish ambassador to the United States says that Ankara and Washington do not agree on resource extraction in northern Iraq, a Turkish daily says.

Namik Tan said in an interview with the Hurriyet daily on Sunday that American companies do not even follow the US directives.

“It seems like Turkey’s acceleration of new projects with Iraqi Kurds in the north of the country has not pleased Baghdad and Washington,” Namik Tan stated.

The Turkish envoy added that while Turkey cannot turn its back on natural resources close to its territory, Ankara acknowledges that Iraq is an independent country, and that any business should be in compliance with the Iraqi Constitution and on a legal basis.

Tan said Washington was discouraging Turkey by suggesting that Ankara’s involvement in northern Iraq “helps divide Iraq.” There are more than 40 US companies in northern Iraq, which contradicts Washington’s own arguments, he added.

“This is not a convincing argument. Really it is nonsense. They say, ‘You cannot convince us,’ and we go, ‘You cannot convince us either.’ We will not have a conflict here on this issue. We will talk and find a common basis for a solution. However, if they think that we will turn our back on those resources and shelve [this opportunity], they cannot convince us on that.”

PG/HSN