Turkey, the main market for Kurdish oil, is both eager to lock up new sources of energy and to promote some pocket of stability on a troubled frontier. Given that ISIS rebels, for now, have not launched any attacks inside Kurdish-ruled areas is a comfort to officials in both Erbil and Ankara.
“Economics is totally on the side of independent Kurdish exports. And politics is shifting as well,” said Ottaway.
Kurdish officials hope the contrast between the ineffective and often sectarian Iraqi forces and Kurdish-governed areas’ relative security and stability will enhance the region’s appeal and boost export potential.
“The events in Iraq have proven to the international community who can be reliable and competent partners, and a source of energy,” said Karwan Zebari, the director of the Kurdish Regional Government’s representation in Washington, D.C. He said the KRG is committed to a unified Iraq and doesn’t seek independence.