President Erdoğan says KRG will ‘pay the price’

KRG will be held to account for the illegitimate referendum, adding that it has no claim to Kirkuk says Turkey’s president

Editor / Internet Yeni Şafak

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said northern Iraq’s Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) will be held to account for holding a referendum on whether to secede from Iraq at a consultation meeting on Saturday in Turkey’s eastern province Erzurum.

“We have never regretted what we have done in the past. We have provided all kinds of support for an extended period of time,” said Erdoğan.

“But now that the circumstances have changed, the northern Iraqi local government has taken a step in spite of my country, and will pay the price,” he continued.

Turkey has said that it could cut off the KRG’s oil export pipeline, which runs through Turkish territory. Iran has banned the transportation of refined crude oil products by Iranian companies to and from the KRG.

“Our only expectation was that they respect our territorial lines and not take steps despite us. They did not do this. Kirkuk is a controversial area, and they are claiming to own Kirkuk. You are not a part of Kirkuk’s history,” Erdoğan said. Oil-rich Kirkuk is ethnically mixed.

The United States, major European countries and nearby Turkey and Iran opposed the referendum as destabilizing at a time when all sides are still fighting Daesh.