Recep Tayyip Erdogan has criticised a decision by Iraqi Kurd leader Massoud Barzani to go ahead with a referendum on Kurdish secession from Baghdad. The Turkish President described the move as a "betrayal" and said that the referendum threatens Turkey's national security, and will lead to more conflicts if each group wants to hold a similar poll.
"Until the last minute, we did not expect Barzani to make a mistake by holding the referendum, but apparently we were wrong," explained Turkey's leader. When Turkey starts imposing sanctions, they will be left with nothing, he warned.
"It will be over when we close the oil taps, all [their] revenues will vanish, and they will not be able to find food when our trucks stop going to northern Iraq," added Erdogan. "Who will recognise your independence? Israel? The world is not about Israel. You should know that the waving of Israeli flags there will not save you."
Erdogan reiterated that the referendum results would be regarded as null and void.
On Tuesday, Barzani, the President of autonomous Kurdistan in Iraq, said that his people have voted "yes" to independence. The Electoral Commission in Erbil said in a statement earlier that the participation rate in the referendum has about 80 per cent of the 4 million people entitled to vote.