Erdogan Threatens Sanctions Over Iraq’s Kurdish Independence Vote

Erdogan Threatens Sanctions Over Iraq’s Kurdish Independence VoteErdogan Threatens Sanctions Over Iraq’s Kurdish Independence Vote

Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan threatened to impose sanctions against Kurdish northern Iraq over a planned independence vote, piling economic pressure on Kurdish authorities after Turkish troops deployed near the main commercial border crossing.

Turkey, home to the largest Kurdish population in the region, has warned that any breakup of neighboring Iraq or Syria could lead to a global conflict, and is due to prepare a formal response on Friday, three days before the referendum, Reuters reported.

Erdogan said the Turkish cabinet and security council would discuss Ankara’s options. They will “put forward their own stance on what kind of sanctions we can impose, or if we will,” he told reporters in New York, according to Anadolu news agency.

“But these will not be ordinary,” Erdogan said.

Residents in provinces controlled by the KRG are scheduled vote Sept. 25 on independence from Baghdad.

The oil-rich province of Kirkuk is among the contested areas where the vote is planned.

  Vote Risks Regional Crisis

Erdogan on Tuesday called on northern Iraq’s Kurdish Regional Government to suspend its referendum for independence slated for next week, saying it would engender further instability the region.

Baghdad and the KRG need to achieve compromises “on the basis of territorial integrity and the realization of the ideals to build a common future”, Erdogan told UN members during his address to the General Assembly in New York, Anadolu reported.

“Steps such as demands for independence that can cause new crises and conflicts in the region must be avoided,” he said.

Last week, Iraqi lawmakers voted against the independence referendum and called on the Baghdad government to negotiate with the KRG.

The Iraqi government is opposed to the poll, claiming it would affect the war against the self-styled Islamic State terrorist group, and cause instability and violate the Iraqi Constitution.

Turkey, the US, Iran and the UN have all backed Baghdad in speaking out against the referendum.

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