Erdoğan to KRG: How dare you say ‘Kirkuk is mine’?

Erdoğan to KRG: How dare you say ‘Kirkuk is mine’?

ANKARA
Erdoğan to KRG: How dare you say ‘Kirkuk is mine’

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has once again slammed the Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) recent independence referendum, questioning Arbil’s links to the contested province of Kirkuk.

“Those who act by disregarding the structure of the region, which is composed of many different identities, with hysterical and opportunistic haste, will be held to account by history,” Erdoğan said, speaking at his 40th meeting with village heads in the capital Ankara on Oct. 18.

“What is [KRG President Masoud Barzani] doing? He is saying ‘Kirkuk is mine.’ How dare you say that Kirkuk is yours? Do you have a history in Kirkuk? What are you doing in Kirkuk? Stay in the area where the northern Iraq regional administration is and do your own work,” he added.

Erdoğan also stressed that Turkey’s fight was against “terror groups” in the region, “not against the Kurdish people.”

“We regard the Kurds in Iraq and Syria the same as we regard Turkmens and Arabs,” he said, adding that “no ethnicity is superior to the others.”

“Our only concern when fighting against the PKK and DEASH is whether somebody is a member of those terror groups. Turkey is an old friend of the Kurds, just like its other brothers,” Erdoğan said, adding that Ankara will “never tolerate those who support terrorists.”

Meanwhile, he also stated that no more flights would be made from Turkish territory to the KRG’s Arbil, repeating that Ankara will from now on deal “only with the legitimate Baghdad government” over border crossings, airports and oil trade.

“Why has Turkey, which has stood by the KRG sincerely until now, started closing its borders and airspace?” he said, blaming the KRG for the deterioration in ties.

“I believe that the people of northern Iraq will speak against the wrong policy [of the KRG] which harms their own peace and prosperity,” Erdoğan added.

Turkey, KRG, Kirkuk