In another sign that Turkey feels that war is increasingly likely, state-owned Turkish Petroleum Corporation (TPAO) is to withdraw its personnel from Iraq within the next three weeks. TPAO has been drilling 20 wells in northern Iraq since being granted a $2.5 million exploration contract by the Iraqi government in September 2001. A former Turkish general quoted in the UK’s Guardian newspaper speculated that whether or not Turkey assisted the US against the Iraqi regime, Turkish troops would be sent into northern Iraq to prevent the Kurds taking over the Mosul and Kirkuk oilfields.