ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday that Ankara would close its border with northern Iraq over an independence referendum and threatened the Iraqi Kurds with blocking their key oil exports.
Erdogan commented on the Kurdistan referendum from the Islamic Cooperation Ombudsmen conference.
“Entrance-exit will be closed” at the Habur border crossing to the Kurdistan Region, Erdogan said in a speech as he angrily denounced Monday’s referendum as “illegitimate,” according to AFP.
He added: “After this let’s see… who they sell (their oil) to. The valve is with us. It’s finished the moment we close it.”
The president didn’t rule any possibilities out.
“If there is a threat against us in Iraq and Syria, all options are on the table,” he said.
“We are not and will not threaten Turkey’s national security, and neither will we intervene in the Turkish affairs, not today, and neither in the future. We want to be a good neighbor,” Barzani said.
He added that that Turkey, and others should see the vote for what it is — an expression of the will of the people exclusive for the Iraqi Kurdistan.
“It has been two months that I have been trying and requesting to visit Turkey so that I will explain that this process of ours is not a threat to Turkey. It is unfortunate that they did not agree to this opportunity to me — or us — to explain it to them up close,” Barzani said adding that other relations with Turkey are continuing such as continued phone calls.