ANKARA, Turkey (AssociatedPress) – Kurdish rebels threatened on Friday to stage more attacks on economic targets in Turkey, days after claiming responsibility for a fire at a key oil pipeline, a pro-Kurdish news agency said.
Turkish authorities have not confirmed the pipeline fire was sabotage, as claimed by the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, a militant group that seeks autonomy for in the Kurdish region of southeastern Turkey.
The pipeline, which carries oil from Central Asia, caught fire Tuesday, briefly pushing up global oil prices. The blaze was largely brought under control Thursday, but was still burning Friday and officials said it could be shut down for up to 15 days.
The pro-Kurdish Firat news agency quoted rebel leader Behroz Erdal as saying the group would make much such economic attacks if Turkey’s military pressed ahead with military operations against Kurdish fighters both inside Turkey and across the border in northern Iraq.
"As long the Turkish state insists on this war, such actions will justifiably be expanded," Erdal was quoted as saying.
"We believe these actions carried out against economic resources have a deterring effect on its war to destroy the (Kurdish) people," Erdal said.
Energy Minister Hilmi Guler said Friday that authorities would make a statement on the cause of the fire and the extent of the damage after the fire was out, probably in another day or two.
The 1,100-mile Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline brings oil from Azerbaijan to the Mediterranean for shipment to the West, bypassing Russia and Iran. It normally pumps slightly more than 1 million barrels a day, more than 1 percent of the world’s daily crude output.