Turkey Ready to Broaden Economic Support for Kurdistan, Including Energy

241077Image1Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım said Wednesday that Ankara is ready to broaden economic support for the Kurdistan Region including in the energy sector to help it steer out of a severe economic crisis.

In an interview with the Haber Turk TV Wednesday, Yildirim said Ankara was “aware” of Kurdistan’s financial crunch.

“We understand that there are financial difficulties in the Kurdistan Region, which is why we have decided to broaden our economic support,” Yıldırım  said.

“We will promote our partnership in the energy sector and we will open a new border gate with the Kurdistan Region,” he added.

Apart from a long-term oil deal with Ankara, Erbil will also become a major exporter of natural gas to Turkey as of 2017, according to official statements.

Dropping oil prices in the world markets has severely added to Kurdistan’s economic crisis, which Erbil struggles to ease by boosting crude exports to Turkey.

The Kurdish ministry of natural resources has announced in the past that it plans to increase oil exports to 1 million barrels per day (bpd) by the end of 2016, double what it currently exports.

“We will also open a new border crossing east of the Habur gate, which will be a source of relief for our people,” Yildirim said. “If the gate is closed, smuggling will thrive and then it will be difficult to differentiate between terrorists and civilians.”

The Turkish prime minister also said he had discussed with Barzani the anticipated Mosul offensive and the ongoing preparations to drive the Islamic State (ISIS) out of the city.

“There are efforts underway to retake Mosul from ISIS with the participation of Barzani, the Iraqi government and US leadership. We support these efforts. Change is called for there and hopefully there will be no new difficulties.” he said.