Who will come, how are you going to leave? Soon, the borders also will be closed. “How are you going to go in and out?” While the vote in non-binding and will not immediately create an independent state, many saw it as a symbolic affirmation of the Iraqi Kurdish dreams for a state of their own.
Baghdad imposed a ban on all worldwide flights to Kurdish airports on Friday prompting an exodus of foreigners.
A spokesman for the government in Baghdad said: “The government delegation protested strongly because the Iraqi flag wasn’t put on Jalal’s coffin, even though the national anthem was played”.
Echoing previous remarks by Erdogan, Khamenei said that the Kurdistan referendum was in the first instance to the benefit of Israel and in the second to the United States.
“Iran and Turkey should take every possible measure against the move and the Iraqi government, too, should make decisions and take serious action”, Khamenei added.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran is the lifelong friend of the Iraqi people, including the country’s Kurds”, the top Iranian diplomat said.
“You only have Israel behind you”. But Kurdish leaders have said they will use it to press for negotiations on eventually forming their own state.
“We do not want to pressure people of Iraqi Kurdistan”, said Rohaní at a joint press conference with Erdogan.
He said dialogue “is the only path” out of the crisis, and said France is ready “to contribute actively to mediation”.
The Popular Mobilization Forces, an umbrella group of militias aligned with the Iraqi government, strongly opposed the Kurdish independence referendum as well.
“Today we are in Hawija and thank God it is completely liberated”, said Zamer Jabbar, a member of the Shiite-dominated Hashed al-Shaabi paramilitary units fighting against IS alongside government forces. The Turkish president described as “illegal” Kurdish referendum on 25 September, making it clear that his interlocutor in Iraq is going to be central government of Baghdad. The Turkish leader had previously threatened to cut Kirkuk off from Ceyhan, but did not provide details on how such a measure would be carried out.
For his part, al-Abadi said: “We do not want an armed confrontation, we don’t want clashes, but the federal authority must prevail and nobody can infringe on the federal authority”.
The remaining strongholds of ISIS in Iraq are now confined to the country’s border with Syria, in the western areas of Anbar province, where the fight against the militants continues. The capture of Hawija places Iraqi forces directly next to Kurdish Peshmerga fighters in control of Kirkuk.
USA and Iraqi commanders say morale is low among militants in the Hawija region, hundreds of whom are reported to have fled with their families and surrendered to nearby Kurdish forces.
“We will take the decision together with Iran and the Iraqi central administration”, the Turkish leader was quoted as saying by broadcaster Haberturk.