ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkey’s president says the country could close its border with Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdish region “at any moment” as a further reprisal for it holding a non-binding referendum on independence last month.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s comments were reported in Hurriyet newspaper on Thursday, and come days after Ankara closed its airspace to flights to and from the Iraqi Kurdish region. Turkish airline companies have also suspended flights to Iraqi Kurdish cities.
Erdogan said: “We have not closed our border gates yet, but this can happen at any moment.”
Turkey had close ties to the Iraqi Kurdish leadership, but had urged them not to hold the vote.
Iraq’s central government and neighboring Iran were also deeply opposed to the referendum, in which more than 90 percent voted for independence.