World Bulletin / News Desk
Iraq on Tuesday warned Turkey against violating Iraqi airspace and territory and said its radars had repeatedly detected Turkish warplanes in its airspace.
"The Iraqi government condemns these violations to Iraq's airspace and sovereignty warns Turkey against any violations of Iraq's airspace and territory," government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said in statement after a cabinet meeting.
Turkish military regularly carries out cross-border aerial and ground operations against Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) bases in northern Iraq.
His statements also came hours after three Turkish passenger planes were stranded at Erbil International Airport after Iraqi aviation authorities closed Iraqi airspace off to all flights. Two Turkish Airlines (THY) planes and a Pegasus Airlines flight were grounded at Arbil's airport for eight hours as they waited for permission to take off. Iraqi authorities reopened the country's airspace later in the day.
While the Iraq Civil Aviation Authority stated that flights had been grounded due to a technical failure in the country's radar system, there were also reports that only flights to Turkey and Saudi Arabia had been held up, while other flights were continuing as scheduled.
The Iraqi move comes on the heels of recent tensions between the Turkish and the Iraqi central governments over the former's oil deal with the semi-autonomous Kurdish region in the north of Iraq. Earlier this month, Iraq's Kurds announced that they have started exporting crude oil and gas to Turkey.
The goal is to barter it for refined petroleum products to meet domestic demand. The deal is part of a bigger agreement the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) negotiated and signed with Turkey in May without going through Baghdad. The agreement envisions the Kurdish region exporting not only oil but natural gas through a web of pipelines through Turkish territory to the international market.
Baghdad warned Turkey on Sunday that its separate oil deal with the regional Kurdish administration could damage trade relations. “Exporting oil from the Kurdistan region to Turkey is illegal and illegitimate,” government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said in a statement. “The oil and gas are the property of all Iraqis and those exports and revenues must be managed by the federal government, which represents all Iraqis.”
Last Mod: 17 Temmuz 2012, 16:28