Oil-dependent Kurdistan Region exports its oil through a pipeline to Turkey’s Ceyhan port. File photo: Rudaw
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Iraq, Iran, and Turkey are solidifying their unity against the Kurdistan Region, threatening joint action to shut down the Region’s oil exports in reaction to Kurdistan’s independence referendum, according to the Turkish president.
“In the case of northern Iraq, Iran, Iraq and Turkey will form a tripartite mechanism and will decide on shutting down the oil,” President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told reporters on a return flight on Thursday after a visit to Tehran, Hurriyet Daily News reported.
Oil-dependent Kurdistan Region exports its oil to international markets through a pipeline to Turkey’s Ceyhan port. Erdogan has previously threatened to close the pipeline in retaliation for Kurdistan proceeding with the referendum despite warnings against it from Ankara, Baghdad, and the international community.
Russian President Vladimir Putin warned this week against taking any action against Kurdistan Region’s oil, saying it would be in nobody’s interest to cut off supplies.
Russia has a lot of interest in the Kurdistan Region after energy giant Rosneft agreed to a more than $1 billion deal gas pipeline deal with the Kurdistan Regional Government just one week before the referendum. The deal makes Rosneft “the biggest player in this region,” company spokesperson Mikhail Leontyev told Rudaw in September.
Iraq has cemented military ties with both of the Kurdistan Region’s neighbours – Iran and Turkey – in the wake of the vote. Iraqi forces have conducted joint military drills with both nations in sight of Kurdistan Region borders in the days before and after the vote.
In his visit to Tehran, Erdogan discussed the Kurdistan Region with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei.
In a joint Turkish-Iranian statement after the meetings, the two nations expressed their support for Baghdad and told Kurdish authorities to “avoid actions that would damage the constitutional system as well as the unity and territorial integrity of Iraq.”