Turkey and Iraq react to Kurdish referendum by joint military exercise

  • Jan Merička
  • 28.9.2017 11:24

Turkey and Iraq began their joint exercises on 26 September at their common border near the Habur crossing, which is the Kurds' only connection with other countries. This exercise followed in response to a referendum in which 91.83 % of voters spoke out for a separate Iraqi Kurdistan. The total voter turnout was 78 % or 3,440,616 voters.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said he would be ready to cut supplies of crude oil from Iraqi Kurdistan if the security situation was to deteriorate. Iraqi Kurdistan President Masoud Barzani wants the Kurds to create their own state in peace and have good relations with Iraq, which is unlikely since the territories which should break away from Iraq contain large oil fields, such as Kirkuk. While the Kurds are allies of the United States and the European Union in the fight against the Islamic state, both the US and the EU have opposed this referendum together with Turkey, Iran, Syria, but also the United Nations. The main reason for this are worries of the region's destabilisation, whether in the form of sectarian wars or Kurdish secessionist tendencies in Iran and Turkey, which could mean a regrouping and strengthening of the IS, possibly increasing terrorist activities in Europe.

About author: Jan Merička

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