Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says Ankara would impose further sanctions on Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in light of the September 25 referendum on the independence of the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region.
“The referendum crisis in northern Iraq is a new attempt to strike the heart of our region with a dagger. We hope the KRG administration comes to its senses soon,” Erdogan said at a parliamentary weekly group meeting with Justice and Development Party (AK Party) lawmakers in Ankara on Tuesday.
He also urged Iraq's Kurdish leader, Massoud Barzani, to annul the results of the referendum.
Erdogan further noted that sanctions against the KRG would increase in the near future.
“We have made every effort to resolve the crisis in the region through wisdom and compromise, and we will [continue our efforts]. For now, we are just content with embargoes in certain fields.
“If they do not come to their senses, we will not hesitate to take further steps in accordance with the status quo,” the Turkish president pointed out.
Also on Tuesday, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu urged the KRG administration in northern Iraq to put right its referendum mistake by taking proper measures.
“This was neither a democratic nor a legal referendum. It was illegal under the Iraq's Constitution,” Cavusoglu told Turkey’s official Anadolu news agency in an exclusive interview.
“It is not too late yet. The [Massoud] Barzani administration could take a step back. If the KRG corrects its mistake, then we can continue our relations just as we did before,” the top Turkish diplomat said.
Kurdish lawmakers boycott Iraqi parliament session in Baghdad
Meanwhile, Kurdish legislators have refused to attend an Iraqi parliament session in Baghdad as tensions escalate between the central government in Baghdad and local Kurdish authorities.
Mohammed al-Karbouli, a member of the Iraqi Parliament’s Security and Defense Committee, said the Kurdish lawmakers did not show up for Tuesday's session.
Moreover, the Speaker of the Iraqi Parliament, Salim al-Jabouri, has offered negotiations in order to resolve the ongoing disputes over the Kurdish referendum, but strongly ruled out dialogue about independence.
Later in the day, the Iraqi legislature voted to halt all financial transactions with the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region.
Iraqi banking and government sources also announced that the Iraqi central bank is now set to stop dollar and foreign currency transfers to the area.
Kurdish officials said on September 27 that the referendum on independence from Iraq was approved by more than 92 percent of voters.
Hendrin Mohammed, the head of the Kurdish region's election commission, announced the official results at a press conference in Erbil, saying the referendum passed with 92.73 percent support, and turnout stood at more than 72 percent.
Mohammed said vote counting was complete and that the results would be considered final once they are certified by the Kurdish region's department of justice.