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Turkish President threatens Kurdish exports

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World Pipelines,

The Turkish leader said he could cut off a pipeline that carries oil out of Iraq, to increase pressure on an autonomous Kurdish region.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has threatened to invade Iraq, after the country's Kurds voted on the issue of independence in a non-binding referendum.

Mr Erdogan said fighting the Iraqi Kurdish bid for independence was "a matter of survival".

The Turkish leader also suggested he could cut off a pipeline that carries oil out of Iraq, to increase pressure on an autonomous Kurdish region.

Baghdad also did not recognise the referendum, which it sees as a Kurdish attempt to exert more control over the country's oil reserves.

Mr Erdogan's indication that he could cut the pipeline came shortly after Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said Ankara could take punitive measures involving borders and air space against the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) over the referendum.

Suggesting that Turkey could halt oil flows from a pipeline from northern Iraq, he said: “After this, let's see through which channels the northern Iraqi regional government will send its oil, or where it will sell it. We have the tap. The moment we close the tap, then it's done.”

Voting began on Monday despite the strong opposition from governments in the region. Western governments had objected to the poll, fearing the move could aggravate Middle East instability.

The pipeline to Turkey’s port of Ceyhan usually pumps between 500 000 and 600 000 bpd. The loss of this supply combined with the 1.8 million bpd of supply cuts by the OPEC and non-OPEC producers has raised concerns of tighter supply.

The Iraqi government said it will not hold talks with the Kurdistan Regional Government about the results of the referendum, which is expected to show a comfortable majority in favour of independence after the results are officially announced.

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