Turkey's Erdogan threatens Iraqi Kurds with army

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The main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) has urged the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) to be cool-headed when taking measures against the Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) over a planned referendum on independence, after the Turkish parliament voted to extend by a year a mandate authorizing the deployment of Turkish troops on foreign soil.

The vote was held peacefully, but the coming days could bring escalating unrest as the Kurds press ahead toward independence, something opposed by virtually the entire global community, including their close ally, the United States.

In contrast, "genuine dialogue" promises to resolve Iraqi Kurds' grievances and establish a new course in Baghdad-Erbil relations, the department said at the time.

In a brief statement on its official website, the Turkish General Staff said the third phase of the military exercise will start on Tuesday jointly with the Iraqi military in the Habur border gate, also known as Ibrahim Khalil border crossing, on the Turkish-Iraqi border in Silopi district of Sirnak province.

Erdogan said: "Our military is not (at the border) for nothing".

Iran and Turkey, which both worry it will stoke separatist aspirations among their own sizeable Kurdish minorities, were also increasing pressure on Iraq's Kurds, with Ankara saying it would shut its border and threatening to block key oil exports.

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But Britain's economy is expected to suffer more generally should prices continue to rise towards $60 a barrel. Futures rose as much as 1.4 percent in London to the highest since February 2.

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani held separate phone calls with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and his Turkish and Russian counterparts, Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Vladimir Putin respectively, over the past two days to discuss the independence vote. We have the valve.

Kirkuk's Kurds had earlier flocked to polling stations, but there has been simmering opposition of the vote among the Arabs and Turkmen who live alongside in the northern Iraqi city. "The moment we shut the valve, that's the end of it". "The Kurds are hoping that Iraq will reopen talks", Jane said.

For Iraqi Kurds - part of the largest ethnic group left stateless when the Ottoman empire collapsed a century ago - the referendum offered a historic opportunity despite intense worldwide pressure to call it off.

However, many observers view the vote in line with a long-pursued Israeli-US agenda to partition regional states.

Barzani is betting that the referendum will strengthen his hand against his political opponents, but he also stands to take most of the blame if a crisis erupts.

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