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Militants have attacked the Kirkuk-Yumurtalik oil pipeline in the southern Turkish province of Sanliurfa, interrupting oil exports from the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in northern Iraq to Turkey.
The attack was blamed on the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which had earlier condemned efforts between the KRG and Turkey to strengthen oil and gas export ties.
The KRG Natural Resources Ministry strongly condemned the attack, hoping to play on Kurdish sentiments and the economic pressures on the KRG as its Peshmerga forces battle the Islamic State (ISIS) in northern Iraq.
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The KRG has called on the Turkish government to adopt more security measures to protect the part of the pipeline that runs through Turkish territory.
Earlier this week, a group founded by the PKK issued statements in direct opposition to the KRG’s natural gas plans with Turkey, which the group said would bolster Turkey economically and therefore must be opposed at a time when the Turkish government is at war with the PKK and “committing massacres in northern Kurdistan [southeastern Turkey]”.
"They want to use the natural resources of Kurdistan as a source of life for the Justice and Development Party (AKP)," local media quoted Demhat Agid, a spokesperson for the KCK, as saying in reference to the KRG-Turkey natural gas deal.
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The KRG strongly condemned what it called the PKK’s “threatening statements”.
The KRG plans to launch natural gas supplies to Turkey by the end of this year.
It is not the first time the PKK has attacked oil pipelines in this area. In August last year, a similar attack cost the KRG some $250 million when oil exports were temporarily halted.
By James Burgess of Oilprice.com
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