Turkey’s President Erdogan threatens to invade Iraq and cut off oil pipeline after Kurds vote for independence

Turkey’s President Erdogan threatens to invade Iraq and cut off oil pipeline after Kurds vote for independence, by Harriet Agerholm.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has threatened to invade Iraq, after the country’s Kurds voted for independence in a non-binding referendum.

Issuing a strongly-worded speech, Mr Erdogan said fighting the Iraqi Kurdish bid for independence was “a matter of survival”.

The Turkish leader also suggested he could cut off a pipeline that carries oil out of Iraq, to increase pressure on an autonomous Kurdish region.

Mr Erdogan has long struggled against a Kurdish insurgency in southeast Turkey, which shares a border with northern Iraq.

Baghdad also did not recognise the referendum, which it sees as a Kurdish attempt to exert more control over the country’s oil reserves. …

Voting began on Monday despite the strong opposition from governments in the region. Western governments, too, had objected to the poll, fearing the move could aggravate Middle East instability.

Mr Erdogan said the “separatist” referendum was unacceptable and that economic, trade and security counter-measures would be taken.

Pointing to Turkish military exercises currently taking place on Turkey’s border with the Iraqi Kurdish region, Mr Erdogan said: “Our military is not (at the border) for nothing.” He added: “We could arrive suddenly one night.”