. Military Space News .

Turkey-Kurdistan econ ties strong despite conflict
by Staff Writers
Arbil, Iraq (AFP) Oct 22, 2011

Turkey is battling Kurdish rebels with bases in Iraqi Kurdistan, but with billions of dollars in trade and hundreds of Turkish companies here, the region's economic links with Turkey are strong.

Kurdish and Turkish officials and an economics expert say the conflict between the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and Turkish forces -- the latest round of which began on Wednesday -- will not harm Kurdistan-Turkey trade.

The PKK, which took up arms in Kurdish-majority southeast Turkey in 1984, killed 24 Turkish soldiers in a series of attacks early on Wednesday. Turkey then launched air and ground attacks on the PKK in Turkey and Iraq.

Fathi Mohammed al-Mudaris, adviser to the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) trade and industry ministry, said that "the current economic relationship between the Kurdistan region and Turkey is very good."

And progress is being made towards "strategic mutual projects between Turkey and the region," he said, including negotiations on establishing a "trade and industrial zone on the border."

Asked if the Turkey-PKK conflict would harm trade between Kurdistan and Turkey, he said: "No, these political problems will not affect any trade or economic activity between Turkey and the region."

"It is not the KRG's problem. The policy of the KRG is to have stronger relations with the neighbouring countries."

Mudaris said Turkish companies now make up 55 percent of foreign companies operating in Kurdistan and that more than than "800 Turkish companies are already registered in our ministry."

Citing various studies and institutions, he said trade between Turkey and Kurdistan amounted to at least $4 billion (2.9 billion euros) in 2010, excluding oil and gas produced by the region, which is handled by the central government.

"Turkey is the main source for most imports to the Kurdistan region," he said.

Companies and banks with Turkish names in Arbil, the capital of the autonomous Kurdistan region, are visible signs of its economic ties with Turkey.

There are a number of Turkish restaurants and stores in Family Mall, the main shopping centre in Arbil. In one department store, signs are written first in Turkish, then Arabic and Kurdish.

Aydin Selcen, the Turkish consul general in Arbil, also said that economic ties between Kurdistan and Turkey are strong.

"Iraq in general is one of our top three partners, if you look at the economic relations for Turkey. And within that, of course, this region is a priority," the consul said.

"As of 2010, our export volume to Iraq in total is $7.5 billion. Seventy percent of this, we estimate, is towards the Iraqi Kurdistan region," he said.

"More than half of the foreign companies registered here in Arbil are from Turkey -- the number is 935 as of last week," Selcen said, adding that Turkey has a strong presence in the oil and gas and construction sectors in Kurdistan.

Selcen told AFP he does not think the PKK-Turkey conflict, including the recent fighting, would cause problems in trade or economic ties with Kurdistan.

He said that the conflict has been going on for almost three decades now, but links between the Kurdistan region and Turkey -- both economic and political -- were still strong.

"I think the relationship between the Kurdistan region and other countries within the Middle East region, especially Turkey ... is getting better and better," said Dr Mohammed Salman Barwary, who teaches economics and finance at Salaheddin University in Arbil.

But he described the trade relationship as "imbalanced," saying "(we) import from Turkey and we have no exports to Turkey -- we export our money and we export our oil, but we import everything from Turkey and other countries in the region."

"I think not less than 40 or 50 percent of all imports are from Turkey," Barwary added.

Asked if the Turkey-PKK conflict would hurt trade, he downplayed the risks.

"I don't think the politicians and the Kurdish commerce sector ... will decrease or decline their dealings" with Turkey.

"It is not between our regime and the Turkish regime -- I think it is an internal issue in Turkey. Yes, the PKK are Kurdish, but I think it is not our problem," Barwary said. "It is a Turkish problem."

Related Links
News From Across The Stans

Get Our Free Newsletters Via Email
Buy Advertising Editorial Enquiries

Turkish forces kill four rebels: army
Ankara (AFP) Oct 21, 2011 - Turkish forces killed four Kurdish rebels Sunday, bringing to 53 the number of rebels killed since the launch of a major offensive in the mainly Kurdish southeast three days ago.

Four Kurdish rebels were killed in clashes in the Cukurca region in the southeastern Hakkari province, the military announced in a written statement posted on its website.

One Turkish soldier was also killed in the fight, it added.

The Turkish military launched air and land operations against the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) after the separatist group's guerillas killed 24 soldiers and wounded 18 along the Iraqi border last week, the army's biggest losses since 1993.

The army earlier said "a total of 49 terrorists were rendered ineffective."

Some 10,000 troops on the ground are involved in Turkey's operations, backed by jets and helicopters, inside Turkey and across the border. Military officials did not say how many troops had entered Iraq.

But it said the operations were mainly concentrated inside the country.

Clashes between the PKK and the army have escalated since the summer.

The latest assaults have also mobilised the Turkish civil society.

Representatives of 24 nongovernmental organisations will hold a protest march in Istanbul on October 30 to denounce terrorism, Turkish media reported.

The PKK, listed as a terrorist organisation by Turkey and much of the international community took up arms for Kurdish independence in southeastern Turkey in 1984, sparking a conflict that has claimed some 45,000 lives.

Turkey's last ground incursion into northern Iraq, an autonomous Kurdish region, was in February 2008, when the army struck the Zap region.


. Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

US seeks to increase flow of military goods via Uzbekistan
Tashkent (AFP) Oct 22, 2011
The United States is trying to increase the flow of non-lethal supplies to US troops in Afghanistan via Uzbekistan as it may not always be able to count on the Pakistan route, a US official said Saturday. The official spoke as US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, part of the US military's Northern Distribution Network (NDN), following a trip to Pakistan to ... read more

Aerostat system detects cruise missiles and supports engagement

Raytheon Successfully Test Fires First New-Build Patriot Missile

NATO missile shield 'not targeted at anyone': Spain

THAAD Weapon System Achieves Intercept of Two Targets at Pacific Missile Range Facility

Lightweight MEADS Launcher Arrives At White Sands for Initial Flight Test

Launchers carry AMRAAM, Sparrow, Sidewinder missiles

Marines use Excalibur to limit collateral damage in Afghanistan

U.S. aid to help find Libyan missiles

Computer virus did not target US drone fleet: general

US Army to fly 'kamikaze' drones

Raytheon Aims to Integrate STM on Light-Attack Aircraft

Miscommunication caused US drone deaths: report

Emirates seek French military satellite

First MEADS Battle Manager Begins Integration Testing in the United States

Elbit Establishes Israeli MOD Comms Equipment Supply Upgrade and Maintenance Project

Boeing FAB-T Demonstrates High-Data-Rate Communications with AEHF Satellite Test Terminal

F-22 fighters back in the air: US Air Force

UK Defence Selects Lockheed Martin UK for Contract to Upgrade Warrior Vehicles

US Air Force grounds F-22 fighters -- again: officers

Northrop Grumman Demonstrates Advances in Ground Vehicle Protection

Viktor Bout lawyer assails undercover witness

Arms sales to Mideast under the gun

Eurocopter aims for S. Korean contracts

Thales to upgrade Australia's Steyr rifles

US urges deeper China engagement to avoid 'miscalculation'

Panetta says US committed to being Pacific power

German FM: Turkey deserves fairness

Panetta backs developing military ties with Indonesia

LockMart Directed Energy Leader Receives Purdue's Outstanding Aerospace Engineer Award


The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2011 - Space Media Network. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement