The Latest: Turkey says it will help Iraq restore pipeline
BAGHDAD (AP) — The Latest on developments in Iraq (all times local):
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says his country is prepared to help Iraq’s central government export oil through a pipeline that would largely bypass Iraq’s Kurdish region.
Speaking alongside Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi on Wednesday, Erdogan also said talks were underway on a possible move to close down Turkey’s border with the autonomous Kurdish region, which held a non-binding referendum on independence last month. Both Turkey and Iraq strongly opposed the vote.
Baghdad is demanding that the Kurds hand over a disputed pipeline they have used to export oil through Turkey.
Erdogan said Ankara would provide “every kind of support” to help Iraq reopen another, damaged pipeline, that runs near the city of Mosul.
The two leaders reiterated their support for Iraq’s territorial integrity.
Al-Abadi said: “With the referendum they tried to break up our territory, they tried to redefine our borders.”
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi is meeting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for talks on the independence referendum held by Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdish region which both countries strongly opposed.
Al-Abadi, who arrived in Ankara on Wednesday, is also scheduled to meet with Prime Minister Binali Yildirim.
Turkey had forged close ties to the Iraqi Kurdish leadership, but had urged them not to hold the vote, warning of consequences that would isolate the region. It closed its airspace to flights to and from the Iraqi Kurdish region and said it was considering closing its border to the region as further reprisal.
Neighboring Iran is also deeply opposed to the referendum, in which more than 90 percent voted for independence.
Iraq’s self-ruled Kurdish region has offered to freeze the results of its controversial independence vote as part of a dialogue with Baghdad.
The proposal was unlikely to be accepted by Baghdad, which demands that the results be annulled before it takes part in any negotiations with the Kurds over relations between the central government and the region.
The regional government in a statement on its website also called for an immediate cease-fire in areas claimed by both Baghdad and the Kurds. Clashes have been taking place since federal security forces deployed this month.
The majority of Kurds voted last month for independence in a controversial but symbolic referendum that Baghdad has so refused to acknowledge, considering it unconstitutional.