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Turkish PM Binali Yildirim vows security, economic measures in response to Iraq's Kurd referendum

Istanbul: Turkey’s steps in response to a planned independence referendum in northern Iraq’s Kurdish region will have security, diplomatic, political and economic dimensions, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said on Saturday.

File image of Binali Yildirim. Reuters

File image of Binali Yildirim. Reuters

He was speaking to reporters before a session of Turkey’s parliament on Saturday afternoon to vote on extending a mandate that authorises Turkish troop deployments to Iraq and Syria.

Asked if a cross-border operation was among the options, Yildirim said, "Naturally, it is a question of timing as to when security, economic and security options are implemented. Developing conditions will determine that."

Turkey, which has NATO’s second-largest army, said on Friday the vote would threaten security and force Ankara to slap sanctions on a neighbour and trading partner, although it did not specify what measures it might take.

Turkey, home to the largest Kurdish population in the region and fighting a Kurdish insurgency, has warned that any break-up of neighbouring Iraq or Syria could lead to a global conflict.

Last Monday, the Turkish army launched a highly visible military drill near the Habur border crossing to Iraq. Military sources said the drill was due to last until 26 September, a day after the planned referendum.

Turkey has for years been northern Iraq’s main link to the outside world. It has built strong trade ties with the semi-autonomous region, which exports hundreds of thousands of barrels of oil per day through Turkey to international markets.

Updated Date: Sep 23, 2017 16:42 PM

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