New gas pipeline reinforces Turkey-KRG ties

Turkey is building a pipeline to the Iraqi border – paving the way for natural gas imports and marking a step forward in its energy partnership with Kurdistan.
Kurdish Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani (R), Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz (C) and Kurdish Minister of Natural Resources Ashti Hawrami attend a conference in Erbil on May 20, 2012. (AZAD LASHKARI/Reuters)

ANKARA - The Turkish government is building a large pipeline toward northern Iraq for natural gas imports – the latest sign that leaders in Ankara and Iraq's autonomous Kurdistan region are moving forward with a broad energy partnership that has drawn opposition from Baghdad and Washington.

Turkish state pipeline company Botas has already started construction of a new gas pipeline that will link its existing network to the southeastern city of Mardin, according to a senior Turkish energy official and two other senior Turkish officials familiar with the project. Botas has also tendered an engineering contract for a second leg of the pipeline, which will run from Mardin to Silopi, at the Iraqi border.

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