An oil pipeline from Iraq to Turkey has been hit by an explosion. (File photo)
Turkish security sources say an explosion in the southeastern part of the country has targeted a section of an oil pipeline coming from neighboring Iraq.
The incident took place at about 11 p.m. local time (2000 GMT) on Friday near the Turkish town of Midyat in the southeastern province of Mardin, close to the Syrian border, the sources said.
The blast brought a halt to the oil flow to the Turkish region and it was not clear when the oil transport operation would restart.
Turkish officials said the explosion was an attack carried out by the terrorist Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) on the 960-km (600-mile) pipeline that transports oil from the northeastern Iraqi city of Kirkuk to the southeastern city of Ceyhan in Turkey.
The Friday explosion comes a few days after Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said in a statement issued on July 15 that Turkey “must stop the unauthorized export of oil through its land.”
“Exporting oil from the Kurdistan region (in Iraq) to Turkey is illegal,” Dabbagh said.
“This matter will affect relations between the two countries, especially economic relations, which will be damaged,” he added.
On July 8, Seerwan Abubaqr, an adviser to the Kurdistan’s natural resources ministry, said the autonomous region “started exporting limited quantities of crude oil to Turkey a few days ago.”
“We will continue exports of crude oil until the central government provides the region with oil products,” Abubaqr said.
The Iraqi government and the Kurdish region have been engaged in a dispute over oil exports in the past few months.