Strategy

Iraqi Kurdish Regional Government’s (KRG) economic power, mostly propelled by oil exports via Turkey, is potentially at risk if the KRG insists on independence considering Ankara’s objection to the referendum, according to government sources.

The non-binding referendum is expected to see residents in provinces controlled by the Iraqi regional government vote on independence from Baghdad on Sept. 25.

Baghdad rejects the planned poll, saying it will adversely affect the fight against the Daesh terrorist group, which still maintains a significant presence in northern Iraq.

Turkey, too, objects it, stating the region’s stability depends on the unity of Iraq and the maintenance of its territorial integrity.

The oil revenue sharing deal between Baghdad and Erbil has already lost its validity. In the last three and a half years, KRG has exported its oil to international markets through Turkey, independently from Baghdad’s central government.

Discord between Baghdad and northern Iraq’s Kurdish Regional Government has long been the subject of dispute in the oil-rich Kirkuk province that is home to Turkmen, Kurds and Arabs.

The KRG says the area’s reserves could total 45 billion barrels, more than Nigeria’s, and the crude is generally cheap to extract. The production is about 600,000 barrels of oil per day. 

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