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.
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