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Monday , 16 October 2017
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Iraqi army joins with Turkey for military drills

Iraq’s army has paired with Turkish forces to conduct joint military drills on the two nations’ shared border, military officials said.

Iraqi soldiers arrived in Turkey late on Monday in the face of exercises due to be carried out on Tuesday in Habur, near Turkey’s southeastern border with Iraq, a Turkish military statement said.

The joint drills come after Iraqi Kurds held a referendum on independence in the semi-autonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq on Monday, in defiance of the Turkish and Iraqi government.

Tuesday’s drills will conclude Turkey’s military exercises in its southeastern region, which began on September 18, a week before Monday’s vote.

Haider al-Abadi, Iraq’s prime minister, told reporters on Monday the government would not hold talks with the KRG following the referendum.

“We are not ready to discuss or have a dialogue about the results of the referendum because it is unconstitutional,” he said.

Turkey, which is home to an estimated 14 million Kurds, has also opposed the vote.

Ankara is concerned the referendum could encourage Turkey’s own Kurdish minority population to seek autonomy.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey’s president, said in a speech on Monday that Ankara will close the Habur border crossing with northern Iraq following the plebiscite, and threatened to block Kurdish authorities from exporting oil to Turkey.

Hundreds of thousands of barrels of oil a day flow through pipelines in northern Iraq’s Kurdish-controlled territory into Turkey.

 

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