ANKARA - Reuters
Turkey’s border with northern Iraq remains open, although that does not mean it will remain so, the Turkish customs minister said on Sept. 27, adding the number of trucks passing through had decreased.
Bülent Tüfenkci also said he did not believe that the Kurdish independence referendum in northern Iraq would have a big impact on Turkish trade with Baghdad.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
has said Iraqi Kurds would go hungry if his country halts the flow of trucks and oil across the border, warning that Turkey could take military and economic measures against its neighbor after the referendum
“The Habur border gate is open for now, we see that the numbers of vehicles passing are decreased,” Tüfenkci said, referring to the main border crossing with northern Iraq.
“The Habur border gate being open for now does not mean that it will remain open,” he said in comments broadcast live on television.
“We can continue trading with the Iraqi central government through Iran
or via sea or airways,” Tüfenkci added.
Turkey has long been northern Iraq’s main link to the outside world, with a Turkish oil pipeline connecting northern Iraq to global energy markets. Iraq, including the Kurdish region, was Turkey’s third-largest export market in 2016, according to IMF
Turkish exports to the country totaled $8.6 billion, behind Germany and the United Kingdom.