Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan threatened a military intervention in Iraq in response to the Iraqi Kurdish region’s referendum on independence from Baghdad.
Erdogan, speaking at a conference in the Turkish capital of Ankara as Iraqi Kurds voted in their region Monday, said Kurdish independence was unacceptable to his country and that this was a “matter of survival.”
He pointed to Turkish military exercises currently taking place on Turkey’s border with the Iraqi Kurdish region.
“Our military is not [at the border] for nothing,” Erdogan said. “We could arrive suddenly one night.”
Erdogan also said Turkey would take political, economic and military measures against Iraqi Kurds’ steps toward independence and also suggested that Turkey could halt oil flows from a pipeline from northern Iraq.
“Let’s see where — and through which channels — will they sell their oil,” Erdogan said. “We have the valve. The moment we shut the valve, that’s the end of it.”
Erdogan said a border crossing with Iraq had been closed in one direction and that Turkey would shut it entirely.