Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Barham Salih has expressed willingness to include Turkish companies in new tenders to develop the country's oil and gas fields, calling Turkey a gateway for Iraq to open up to Europe.
In April, Iraq's Oil Ministry qualified 35 companies to bid for tenders to develop the nation's oil and gas fields. Turkey's state-owned Turkish Petroleum Corporation (TPAO) was not included in the list, disappointing Ankara.
"I spoke with Energy Minister Hilmi Güler and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, and I told them that we have been planning to include some major Turkish companies on the list of companies which will invest in the Iraqi oil sector. Both President [Jalal] Talabani and Prime Minister [Nouri] al-Maliki want Turkish companies to be on this list," Salih was quoted as saying in an interview with news station NTV over the weekend.
At a high-profile international gathering held in İstanbul last week, Salih said in his address that Iraq was recovering quickly from an authoritarian regime and the US-led war that toppled it, becoming an economically prosperous country integrated with its region and the international community.
This new Iraq, which is now projecting $70 billion in oil revenue in 2008, sees Turkey as a "strategic partner," he said, emphasizing that without cooperation from other countries Iraq could not meet its huge infrastructural needs on its own. "We see Turkey as a strategic partner, and when I say this, I mean it. This is a strategic choice and Iraq wants to go ahead with it," he said at the Third Turkish-Arab Economic Forum, in which Erdoğan and Güler also participated.
Last Mod: 16 Haziran 2008, 14:47