Turkey sides with Kurdish government in oil export case

ANKARA, Turkey, June 12 (UPI) --A Turkish energy official said Thursday any sale of oil from the semiautonomous Kurdish north of Iraq would get consent from international arbiters.

United Emblem, the latest tanker to leave the Turkish port of Ceyhan loaded with Kurdish oil, was heading west Thursday toward Sicily. United Leadership, which left the Turkish port in May, is parked off the coast of Morocco.

The Iraqi government filed a case against the semiautonomous Kurdish government over the exports, arguing the Kurds had violated the national constitution.

A senior official in the Turkish Energy Ministry told Turkish newspaper Daily Sabah the Iraqi central government may lose the case. Ankara is "pretty sure" the courts would rule against Baghdad, he said.

The Kurdistan Regional Government last week issued a statement saying its oil policies were "fully in line with the federal constitution of Iraq."

Washington said it sided with the central government in Baghdad in the case. No sales, a U.S. State Department spokeswoman said, can move forward without the federal government's consent.

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