02:33 GMT +320 November 2019
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    Turkey Closes Country's Airspace for Iraqi Kurdistan

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    The Turkish Security Council recommended in an October 16 statement to close the country's airspace for Iraqi Kurdistan amid the ongoing clashes between Iraqi federal forces and Peshmerga fighters in Kirkuk, which joined Kurdistan's independence referendum on September 25.

    The Iraqi government has decided to close the country's airspace for Iraqi Kurdistan, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag said Monday.

    Ankara also suspended flights to Iraqi Kurdistan and halted the broadcasting of a number of the autonomous region's television channels in the country.

    "It has been considered necessary to recommend closure of Turkey's airspace for northern Iraq. The control over the Ibrahim Halil border checkpoint should be handed over to the Iraqi government," the council's press service said in an October 16 statement.

    Turkey, as well as Iran, criticized Iraqi Kurdistan's bid for independence and voiced support for the country's territorial integrity.

    Meanwhile, the Iraqi armed forces managed to capture strategic positions in the Kirkuk region, which held the vote too, despite not being a part of Iraqi Kurdistan. 

    In 2014, Peshmerga forces liberated the oil-rich province of Kirkuk from Daesh terrorists (banned in Russia). Since then, the region has been controlled by Kurdish authorities.

    On September 25, more than 90 percent of the voters taking part in a referendum in Iraqi Kurdistan backed the region's independence from Baghdad. Iraqi authorities declared the referendum illegal, while Turkey and Iran criticized the vote amid fears that it might strengthen separatist feelings among their own ethnic Kurdish minorities.    

    Tags:
    Kurds, airspace, Turkey, Iraq
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