Erdogan: Iraqi Kurds Could Go Hungry If Turkey Imposes Sanctions
Erdogan: Iraqi Kurds Could Go Hungry If Turkey Imposes Sanctions

Erdogan: Iraqi Kurds Could Go Hungry If Turkey Imposes Sanctions

Erdogan: Iraqi Kurds Could Go Hungry If Turkey Imposes Sanctions

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said Iraqi Kurds would go hungry if his country halts the flow of trucks and oil across the border with northern Iraq and warned that all military and economic measures were on the table against its neighbor.
The comments, some of the harshest yet from Erdogan about Monday’s referendum in Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdish region, came as Iraqi troops joined the Turkish army for military exercises near Turkey’s border with northern Iraq, news outlets reported.
While initial results indicated overwhelming support for independence, Turkey —long northern Iraq’s main link to the outside world— sees the referendum as a threat to its own security, fearing it will inflame separatism among its Kurdish population.
“(They) will be left in the lurch when we start imposing our sanctions,” Erdogan said in a speech broadcast live on television. “It will be over when we close the oil taps, all (their) revenues will vanish, and they will not be able to find food when our trucks stop going to northern Iraq.”
Turkey, which is home to the region’s largest Kurdish population, is battling a three-decade Kurdish insurgency in its southeast, which borders northern Iraq. Erdogan said on Monday that traffic was only being allowed to cross from the Turkish side of the border into Iraq.
Erdogan has repeatedly threatened economic sanctions, but has given few details. Hundreds of thousands of barrels of oil a day flow through a pipeline in Turkey from northern Iraq, connecting the region to global oil markets.

  Kirkuk Tense
In Kirkuk, a disputed city where the vote controversially went ahead, security forces deployed on the streets after a curfew was imposed in parts of the city.
Lawmakers in Baghdad, which has declared the vote unconstitutional, demanded the government send troops to disputed areas where the referendum was taking place.
Asked about the risks of armed conflict, Abadi’s spokesman Saad al-Hadithi told AFP: “If there are clashes in these zones, it will be the job of federal forces to apply the law.”
Karim al-Nuri, a head of the Badr Brigade which forms part of the powerful Hashed al-Shaabi paramilitary units, suggested the Shia group was ready to deploy to “Kirkuk and the disputed zones occupied by armed gangs, outlaws who do not respond to the army command.”
Kirkuk, home to Arabs, Kurds and Turkmen, has been a particular point of concern and late Monday police said a curfew was being imposed in the city center and in Arab and Turkmen areas “to ensure security, monitor the situation and protect the citizens of Kirkuk”.


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