Turkey and Iraqi Kurdistan signed a multi-billion-dollar energy package this week that will help transform the semi-autonomous region into an oil and gas powerhouse but infuriate the central government in Baghdad. The move follows months of negotiations and was learned from sources close to the deal on Friday after being kept secret. Baghdad says any independent Kurdish oil exports are illegal and that it has the sole authority to manage Iraqi oil. For energy-hungry Turkey, dependent on imports for almost all of its needs, exploiting Iraqi Kurdistan’s rich hydrocarbon resources will help diversify its energy supplies and reduce the country’s ballooning $60 billion energy bill. Ankara’s close partnership with Iraqi Kurds is historic and to many, marks the beginning of a new era, given the decades-long fight with Kurdish militants on Turkish soil that has claimed more than 40,000 lives. The deal came in the early […]