Turkey To Meet With Iran, Iraq Over Kurdish Independence Vote

Deadline approaches for Iraq's Kurds to hand over control airports

The move to seize the border post was a response to a Kurdish referendum, Monday (9/25/2017), resulted a vote in favor of secession from Iraq.

The biggest share of the approximately 30 million Kurds in the region live in Turkey, which for decades has battled the PKK Kurdish militant group fighting for independence within its borders.

Earlier this week, Iraqi soldiers also took part in a joint military exercise with Turkey.

Tehran has been cooperating with Baghdad in building pressure on Iraqi Kurds, notably by cutting all flights to and from the region ahead of the vote.

That control apparently won't extend to the Iraqi military moving in on Kurdish-controlled territory, but whether that restraint holds is an open question, which has sparked USA worry of an escalating rift between the Iraqis and Kurds, both of whom are US allies in the fight against the Islamic State.

The United States on Friday said it "does not recognise" the Iraqi-Kurdish referendum on independence, calling on all parties to reject the use of force and engage in dialogue.

"They are measures for the entrance and departure of commodities and people under the control of the federal government and the federal regulatory bodies, as apply in all Iraqi checkpoints to stop prevent smuggling and corruption", it added.

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Turkey is advising its citizens to leave Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdish region before flights to the area are suspended.

In defiance of Baghdad, the self-ruled Kurdish region has been unilaterally exporting crude oil produced in their region and contested areas through Turkey.

"We urge calm and an end to vocal recriminations and threats of reciprocal actions".

Behind the scenes, the United States has strongly been advising against any military incursion into the Kurdish region, and believes none of the players will do so, according the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The comments from the United States come as the last plane left Iraqi Kurdistan on Friday after Baghdad-ordered an worldwide flight ban in retaliation for the independence referendum.

Overseas flights were canceled on Friday from the worldwide airport in Erbil, hours before a ban by the Iraqi government took effect, while officials in Baghdad warned that land borders might also be closed.

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