Turkey’s Erdoğan to KRG’s Barzani: Israeli flags will not save you

Referring to an independence referendum held by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), Turkish autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has warned KRG President Massoud Barzani not to rely on Israel.

Erdoğan’s remarks came on Tuesday during an opening ceremony for the new academic year. Calling the decision to hold the independence referendum on Monday an act of “treason” against Turkey, Erdoğan said the rate of participation in the referendum and the results were suspicious.

“Those who are provoking you today will leave you alone tomorrow, but we will continue to live together for thousands of years. Don’t destroy your tomorrow by your ambition today. The fact that Israeli flags are waving there will not save you, you should know that,” Erdoğan said.

Arguing that the majority of “yes” votes in the referendum do not have any value since no country other than Israel recognizes the referendum results, Erdoğan threatened the KRG with cutting off the oil flow from the region and economic sanctions.


“When we start imposing sanctions, you will be left alone. Once we close the tap [cut off the oil], it is all done. Once the trucks stop going to northern Iraq, there won’t be any food. We have to [impose] sanctions. How is Israel going to send them anything, from where?” asked Erdoğan.

Speaking during the International Ombudsman Conference in İstanbul on Monday, Erdoğan said the referendum was unacceptable and added that Ankara would take economic, trade and security countermeasures.

Underlining that the northern Iraq administration can only sell its oil via Turkey, Erdoğan said: “We have the tap. The moment we close the tap, it’s over.”

“There are several measures on the table. … We will see through which channels the northern Iraqi regional government will send its oil and where they will sell it,” he added.

Speaking during an interview with NTV, Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım also said Turkey is determined to take action if its national security is threatened. “We will not enter into an adventure unexpectedly in any way, but if there is a position that will harm the interests of our country, then we will respond without delay,” said Yıldırım. “We will from now on consider only the central government in Baghdad as a legitimate interlocutor, not the KRG based in Arbil,” he added.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu has also said he called the representative of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), which is the party of KRG President Barzani, and told him not to come to Turkey, the Karar daily reported on Tuesday. According to the report Çavuşoğlu said Turkey would act together with Baghdad in the event there was a threatening situation. “Our interlocutor from now on is Baghdad. We told the representative of the KDP not to come to Turkey,” he said.

Meanwhile, KRG President Massoud Barzani has stated on Tuesday that the will of millions of Kurds should be respected by the international community, urging Baghdad and neighboring countries to engage in dialogue to resolve regional issues.

In a speech following the historic independence referendum on Monday, Barzani said the vote was not a crime but was enshrined in all international charters.Barzani urged Baghdad to begin serious dialogue with Arbil to resolve their outstanding problems. He added the threats of punishment from Iraq would not be tougher than the genocide committed in the past. “I ask Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and anyone who believes in peace and dialogue to start serious negotiations,” he said.

Barzani has reiterated the KRG’s partnership with Iraq and the international coalition in the fight against terror. He also mentioned refugees and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) were considered “our brothers and most welcome in Kurdistan and it will remain their home.”

On relations with neighboring Turkey and Iran, KRG President Barzani has said that within the past 25 years, the KRG has proven they are “factors of stability.” “We always praise the role of Iran and Turkey during the 1992 Kurdish exodus, Anfal, and genocide campaigns,” Barzani said. “We want [our relationship] to stay on the same path,” added he.

In response to recent threats against Kurdistan by neighboring countries following the referendum, Barzani has noted that nothing would “be as harmful as the Anfal genocide campaigns and chemical attacks.”

Barzani has also thanked the citizens of Kurdistan, the High Council for the Independence Referendum, and security forces for the successful vote. “All attempts to break the will of the people and retreat from independence failed,” he concluded.

A day after an independence referendum held by the KRG, Turkish and Iraqi armed forces launched a joint military exercise on the Turkish-Iraqi border, in the Silopi district of Turkey’s Şırnak province. Iraqi forces arrived in Turkey on Monday evening to participate in a new phase of a military drill that Turkish forces began last week.

Despite warnings from the Baghdad administration and abroad, including from Ankara and Washington, the KRG held a referendum on Monday for a separate Kurdistan state in northern Iraq. The results show that 93.29 percent of people voted in favor of separation from Baghdad and the formation of an independent Kurdistan state. (SCF with turkishminute.com)

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