Turkey, Kurdistan advance energy ties

Turkish and Kurdish leaders have finalized the framework of a massive energy partnership and are poised to begin signing contracts, despite protests from Baghdad and Washington.
Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan (R) and Kurdistan Regional President Masoud Barzani meet in Istanbul April 19, 2012. (Reuters)

ANKARA - Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan appears to have decided to move forward with a major energy deal with Iraq's Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), despite sharp objections from the Iraqi central government and the United States.

Turkey and the KRG have fully negotiated a final framework of the deal, according to multiple senior Turkish officials – including stakes in at least a half-dozen exploration blocks and terms for the direct pipeline export of oil and gas from the KRG. With a green light now from Erdogan, the officials said, a flurry of contract signings will follow.

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