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Turkey suspends flights to Kurdish region of Iraq

September 29, 2017 at 7:38 pm

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim greets supporters during the third extraordinary congress of Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party in Ankara, Turkey on May 21, 2017 [Turkish Prime Ministry / Mustafa Aktaş / Anadolu Agency]

Turkey has indefinitely suspended all flights to northern Iraq’s Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) in the wake of the independence referendum held earlier this week in the region.

The decision is also in line with the Iraqi government’s suspension of all international flights to the Kurdish region’s international airport in Erbil today.

All Turkish air carriers, including the government-owned Turkish Airlines, are covered by the decision which took effect at 18:00 local time (1500 GMT), said Prime Minister Binali Yildirim.

“We will send private planes for any Turkish citizens that may be affected by the decision. We expect northern Iraq to understand that Turkey does not fool around in such matters. Our measures are not limited to this. We will gradually share our upcoming decisions with the public,” added Yildirim.

Read: Baghdad piles pressure on Iraqi Kurds to reverse overwhelming independence vote

Around five million residents of the Iraqi Kurdish region turned to the ballot boxes to vote for separation from Iraq on Monday. News reports said that the turnout rate was 72 per cent.