The three neighbouring countries, Turkey, Iran and Irak will jointly decide on closing the flow of oil from northern Iraq, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan was quoted as saying to Turkish media on his return flight from a one-day trip to Tehran.
“If a decision will be made on closing oil taps in the region, that will be made by us. Turkey, Iran and Iraq’s central government will do so together,” Erdogan said, adding once more that Northern Iraq’s Kurdish region would come to its senses and turn back from its decision.
“The northern Iraqi leadership is drunk with the result of the referendum, it’s not aware of what it is doing or what kind of steps it’s taking,” he said and criticizing the inclusion of the oil-rich city of Kirkuk in the referendum, stated that Kurds had no legitimacy there and that they were “invaders” in the region.
Regarding Russian President’s Vladimir Putin statement on Wednesday that it was in no-one’s interest to cut off oil supplies from Iraq’s Kurdistan, and that would raise oil prices, Erdogan brushed off those concerns saying the final decision would be made by Turkey, Iran and Iraq. It is noteworthy that last month, Russian oil major Rosneft clinched a gas pipeline deal in Iraq’s autonomous Kurdistan to help it become a major exporter of gas to Turkey and Europe. The pipeline will be constructed in 2019 and exports will begin in 2020.
During a joint news conference with his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani on Wednesday, Erdogan said that further measures should follow against northern Iraq, and the two leaders promised to work together against the independence drive.
Iran and Turkey have already threatened to join Baghdad in imposing economic sanctions on Iraqi Kurdistan and have launched joint military exercises with Iraqi troops on their borders.
Kurds in northern Iraq last week voted overwhelmingly in favour of independence. But the Baghdad central government, its neighbours and Western powers fear the vote could spark further conflict in the Middle East to add to the war in Syria.