ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – The Iraqi Foreign Ministry on Friday said it had officially asked the government of Turkey and Iran a week ago to close its borders and stop all trade and commercial dealings with the Kurdistan Region.
The move comes as part of a campaign headed by the Shia-led Iraqi government to punish the Kurdistan Region with a series of punitive measures because of the Sep. 25 independence referendum.
Baghdad has already banned civil aviation in Kurdistan and imposed restrictions on trade, prompting angry reactions from the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).
In a statement, Iraqi Foreign Ministry spokesperson Ahmad Mahjoub said the ministry had submitted an official request to the embassies of both Turkey and Iran in Baghdad, asking the two countries to only deal with the federal government and close all ports not under Baghdad’s control.
The statement said the two countries had been asked to “close all ports” on the border with the Kurdistan Region until the KRG hands over the administration of border crossings to Baghdad.
Mahjoub also mentioned the federal government had requested to suspend all commercial transactions, namely the Region’s oil pipeline that goes through Turkey, stating they had asked the neighbors to deal exclusively with Baghdad regarding oil.
In late September, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi had pledged to impose “the power of the Constitution” in most areas of the Kurdistan Region.
Officials in Kurdistan have described the countermeasures against the Region as collective punishment, reiterating the referendum was conducted based on the Iraqi Constitution.
About 93 percent of the people in the Region voted for secession from Iraq during the referendum.
The Kurdish government has called for peaceful dialogue and negotiations to resolve the disputes between Erbil and Baghdad.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany