(MENAFN- AzerNews) By Kamila Aliyeva
Ankara has vowed to stand alongside Baghdad against the outcome of an independence referendum staged by Kurdish authorities in northern Iraq.
Iraqi Prime Minister Hayder Al-Abadi held a telephone conversation with his Turkish counterpart Binali Yildirim on September 28, when Yildirim confirmed Ankara's readiness to support all decisions of Baghdad regarding Erbil, including oil export.
'Yildirim confirmed Turkey's support for all the decisions made by the government and parliament [of Iraq] aimed at ‘preserving the unity of the country'. He also stressed his country's commitment to cooperation and coordination with the Government of Iraq to implement all necessary measures to transfer control over land and air terminals to federal authorities, TASS reported citing the message of the Iraqi prime minister's office.
Ankara vowed to back all resolutions of Baghdad, including those related to the export of oil to the federal government.
Earlier when commenting on the possibility of the operation of the Turkish Armed Forces in Iraq, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu noted that Ankara will proceed to actions in case of a relevant appeal by the Iraqi authorities.
The Kurdish Regional Government's (KRG)held a controversial independence referendum in northern Iraq, including areas disputed between Erbil and Baghdad, on September 25.
Iraqi Kurdish leader Masoud Barzani announced that Kurds had voted 'yes to independence in a referendum held in defiance of the central government in Baghdad and which had displeased their neighbors and their U.S. allies.
Along with Iraq, Iran and Turkey - countries with Kurdish minorities - have all denounced the referendum as a threat to the stability of a region already beset by conflict, while the United States has expressed similar disquiet.
Ali Akbar Velayati, the top adviser to Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, stepped up the pressure as the Iraqi government ruled out talks on possible secession for Kurdish-held northern Iraq and Turkey threatened sanctions.
'The Iraqi people won't stand silent. Iran and Turkey and other regional countries won't stand silent and will stand against this abhorrent deviation, Velayati was quoted as saying by ISNA news agency. 'The Muslim nations will not allow the creation of a second Israel.
Tehran earlier announced a ban on direct flights to and from Iraqi Kurdistan at the request of the central government in Baghdad and called for a land blockade of the autonomous region by all neighbouring countries.
Even before the official results were released, the parliament in Baghdad adopted a package of measures in response to the unconstitutional move of Erbil.
The MPs demanded the government to send Iraqi troops to the disputed areas under the control of the Kurds, close the border terminals that go beyond the control of the federal government, return oil fields under the jurisdiction of the Oil Ministry, close foreign diplomatic missions in Erbil.
Also, the parliamentarians demanded to start prosecution of the persons responsible for holding the referendum, including Kurdistan's head. The Iraqi aviation authorities notified international carriers that they are banning flights to the airports of Erbil and Sulaymaniyah since September 29.
Barzani previously threatened war if the central government in Baghdad interferes with the holding of the referendum. He later added that a 'Yes vote would not result in an automatic declaration of independence but would simply lead to further negotiations with Baghdad.
Kurds are the fourth-largest ethnic group in the Middle East although they have never obtained a permanent nation state. In Iraq they make up an estimated 15-20 percent of the population of 37 million. Kurds acquired autonomy following the 1991 Gulf War.
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