First Published: 2017-10-19

Erdogan says may shut Iraqi border at any moment
Turkish President revives threat first made after Kurds voted for independence in northern Iraq.
Middle East Online

'We have not shut the border gates yet but this could happen too at any moment'

ISTANBUL - President Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey may shut its border with northern Iraq "at any moment" after closing its air space to the region, Hurriyet newspaper reported on Thursday, reviving a threat first made after Kurds there voted for independence.

"We have completely closed our air space to the regional government in northern Iraq," the paper cited Erdogan as telling reporters on his plane returning from a trip to Poland.

"Talks are continuing on what will be done regarding the land (border) ... We have not shut the border gates yet but this could happen too at any moment," he added.

Turkey announced on Monday it was closing its air space to the semi-autonomous Kurdish region and said it would work to hand control of the main border crossing into the region to the central Iraqi government.

The Habur gate is the main transit point between Turkey and Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdish Regional Government.

A Sept. 25 referendum, in which Kurds in northern Iraq voted overwhelmingly in favour of independence, alarmed Baghdad, Iraq's neighbours and Western powers, all of whom feared further regional conflict could arise from the vote.

Subsequently Kurdish Peshmerga forces retreated to positions they held in northern Iraq in June 2014 in response to an Iraqi army advance into the region after the referendum, a senior Iraqi commander said on Wednesday.

Ankara, which has been battling a three-decade insurgency in its own mainly Kurdish southeast, fears an independent Kurdish state on its borders would heighten separatist tension at home.

 

Lebanon’s Hariri suspends resignation

Divided Syria opposition meets in Riyadh

Revolt in US State Department over child soldier law

US carries out air strikes against IS in Libya

Morocco bans bitcoin transactions

Saudi-led coalition to reopen Yemen airport, port to aid

Turkey court rules to keep Amnesty chief in jail

France calls for UN meeting on Libya slave-trading

Egypt detains 29 for allegedly spying for Turkey

WTO panel to hear Qatar’s complaint against UAE blockade

Three dead as diphtheria spreads in Yemen

Israel seizes explosive material at Gaza border

Activists call for release of UK journalist held by IS

Bahrain upholds jail sentence for activist

Iraq attacks at lowest since 2014

Turkey continues crackdown in post-coup probe

Hariri back in Lebanon

Putin to hold Syria peace talks with Erdogan, Rouhani

Lebanon's Hariri in Egypt ahead of return home

Rebels say Sanaa airport 'ready to run' after coalition bombing

Greece to amend historic sharia law for Muslim minority

Turkey to ask Germany to extradite top coup suspect

Car bomb in northern Iraq kills at least 24

13 million Syrians need aid despite relative drop in violence

Sudan urged to improve plight of Darfur's displaced people

Brain drain means Syria can’t recover for a generation

Palestinians close communication lines with Americans

Anti-IS coalition strikes drop to lowest number

German police arrest six Syrians ‘planning terror attack’

Palestinian factions in Cairo for reconciliation talks

Turkish opposition daily web editor sentenced to 3 years in jail

Israeli police arrest 33 in ultra-Orthodox draft riots

Turkish lira at new low against US dollar

Islamic republic declares end of Islamic State

Assad in Russia for talks with Putin

UN chief horrified by Libya slave auctions

Qatar 2022 chief has no regrets over hosting World Cup

Gheit says Lebanon should be 'spared' from regional tensions

Saudi Arabia, Arab allies push for unity against Iran, Hezbollah meddling

Syria ‘de-escalation zone’ does nothing to stop civilian deaths

Is a demilitarised Palestinian state a viable option?

S&P affirms good Saudi credit ratings

Israel president faces big backlash over Palestinian scarf

Sudan leader to visit Russia Thursday

Seven years into Libya’s civil war, the chaos continues