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Turkish bluster hides shaky leverage over KRG

Despite Turkish threats to block Iraqi Kurdistan's oil exports, the Kurdistan Region's pipeline and main Habur border crossing are still open.
Iraqi Kurdish president Masoud Barzani speaks during a news conference in Erbil, Iraq September 24, 2017. REUTERS/Azad Lashkari - RC1D18E25910

When will Massoud Barzani resign?” The question posed by pro-government columnist Yahya Bostan in the English-language Daily Sabah suggests that Turkey is cranking up pressure against the Iraqi Kurdistan's president over the referendum on Kurdish independence that was held on Sept. 25 over the objections of Turkey, Baghdad, Iran and the United States.

Bostan wrote in his column today, “In a recent phone call between the prime ministers of Turkey and Iraq, the leaders reportedly agreed to cut the [Kurdistan Regional Government's] oil exports and have Baghdad compensate Turkey for its losses. Similar steps have been taken with Iran.” In a further bombshell, Bostan claimed, “Turkish officials, in particular, indicate that canceling the referendum results won’t be enough. Normalization, they argue, cannot take place until Massoud Barzani steps down and is replaced by another politician.”

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