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Kurdish Referendum: Erdogan Says Military, Economic Options on Table
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday all options, from economic to air and land military measures, were on the table in response to the Iraqi Kurdish independence referendum held in northern Iraq on Monday.
In a speech made at the presidential palace, Erdogan said Turkey would not hesitate to use the means at its disposal if the road to peace is blocked, adding he hoped the Kurdistan Regional Government would come to its senses.
The warning came as people in the Iraqi autonomous region voted on Monday in an independence referendum, amid rising tensions and international opposition.
Balloting took place in the disputed areas between the northern city of Irbil and the capital Baghdad, as well as the oil-rich province of Kirkuk, which is ethnically mixed.
"Our armed forces are on the borders with Iraq to do whatever it takes," Erdogan said, adding that Turkey could block key oil exports of the Kurdish Regional Government [KRG] over the vote.
"We will never allow anyone or anything to go from Turkey to Iraq. This week we will adopt so many other measures. We will close the borders. Nothing will go across the borders."
"Entrance-exit will be closed" at the Habur border crossing, Turkey's sole land border crossing with Iraq, Erdogan said in a speech in Istanbul.
He said there were currently crossings allowed to the Iraqi side only but travel would be closed in both directions this week.
"After this let's see through which channels they will send their oil through ... and who they will sell to. The valve is with us. It's finished the moment we close it," he said.
Iraqi Kurdish oil is exported through Turkey and its southern Ceyhan port, a key economic lifeline for the region.
Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team
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