SULAIMANI (ESTA) — The issue of water is a “powerful weapon”, said the leader of the Kurdistan Socialist Democratic Party after Iraq on Saturday halted crude from the Kurdistan Region.
Iraq halted crude exports from the Kurdistan Region and northern Kirkuk fields, according to Reuters, after the country won a longstanding arbitration case against Turkey.
The decision to stop shipments of 450,000 barrels per day (bpd) of crude relates to a case from 2014.
Back then, Baghdad claimed that Turkey violated a joint agreement by allowing the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) to export oil through a pipeline to the Turkish port of Ceyhan.
Baghdad deems KRG exports via the Turkish Ceyhan port as illegal.
Mohammed Haji Mahmoud, the leader of the Kurdistan Social Democratic Party, said in a televised interview that the issue of water is a “powerful weapon” in the hands of the Kurds.
He said, “today’s decision to halt oil exports was unpleasant news for the Kurds, the Kurds should insist on selling their oil and gas.”
“The Kurdistan Region has two large dams, Dukan and Darbandikhan, which it can use against Baghdad.”
The International Chamber of Commerce ruled in favor of Iraq on Thursday, Iraq’s oil ministry confirmed on Saturday.
Turkey has informed Iraq that it will respect the arbitration ruling. It subsequently halted the pumping of Iraqi crude from the pipeline that leads to Ceyhan.
Turkey also stated it will not allow shipments carrying crude from the Kurdistan region to leave its coastal port of Ceyhan without the consent of Baghdad.