As the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) in northern Iraq continues to count the ballots of its controversial independence referendum, President Erdogan of Turkey warned the Kurds that he would cut off the oil pipeline from northern Iraq to the outside world -- depriving the Erbil government of its principal source of income - if the KRG does not back down.
Erdogan more specifically has threatened military intervention in Iraq, saying that Kurdish independence was unacceptable to Turkey and that this was a matter of Turkey's survival.
The oil pipeline, consisting of two pipes with diameters of 46 inches (1,170 mm) and 40 inches (1,020 mm) was commissioned back in 1970 and transports over a million barrels of oil daily from Kirkuk to Ceyhan, a distance of 970 km.
In recent times the pipeline has been a huge bone of contention between the KRG and Baghdad. Baghdad has also threatened force if the Kurds persist in the independence drive.
Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirum said “After this, let’s see through which channels the northern Iraqi regional government will send its oil, or where it will sell it. We have the tap. The moment we close the tap, then it’s done.”