'Barzani has overstepped the line'

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned northern Iraqi leader Masud Barzani on Monday that hostility towards Turkey could result in a "very heavy cost" for them in the future.

'Barzani has overstepped the line'
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned northern Iraqi leader Masud Barzani on Monday that hostility towards Turkey could result in a "very heavy cost" for them in the future.

His warning came in response to remarks by Massud Barzani, the head of the autonomous Kurdish region in northern
Iraq, who reportedly threatened to interfere in Turkey's affairs if Ankara continued to oppose Kurdish claims on the oil-rich city of Kirkuk.

"A northern Iraq which neighbours Turkey is gravely wrong in the way it is currently acting and this could result in a very heavy cost for them afterwards," Erdogan told reporters.

Barzani has "overstepped the line", he said, adding: "I advise them not to say words they cannot live up to and to know their place because they could be later crushed under those words."

The Turkish media quoted Barzani as saying at the weekend that Iraqi Kurds would meddle in Turkey's predominantly-Kurdish southeast if Ankara continued to oppose their ambitions to attach Kirkuk to their autonomous region in northern Iraq.

Turkey says a referendum on Kirkuk's future status, scheduled to be held by the year-end, should be postponed, arguing that thousands of Kurds have been moved into the city to change its demography.

Kirkuk is also home to Arabs and Turkmens, a Turkish-speaking community backed by Ankara.

Barzani reportedly said that if Turkey "interferes in Kirkuk over just a few thousand Turkmens, then we will take action regarding the 30 million Kurds in Turkey."

Following the remarks, Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul also conveyed Turkey's annoyance to US Secretary of State
Condoleezza Rice in a telephone conversation at the weekend, a senior Turkish diplomat told AFP.

Asked by reporters Monday what Turkey's response to Barzani would be, Gul only said: "You will see."

"Barzani's words are extremely disturbing, unacceptable and are considered as a provocation," the English-language Turkish Daily News paper quoted Gul as telling Rice.

Separately, the New Anatolian daily reported Monday that Iraqi Kurdish objections to Istanbul were instrumental in Baghdad's decision to favour the Egyptian city of Sharm el-Sheikh as the venue of a high-level international meeting in early May to discuss the turmoil in Iraq.
Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16
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