Turkey closes airspace to flights of Iraqi Kurdish region

Source: Xinhua| 2017-10-17 00:52:38|Editor: Mu Xuequan
Video PlayerClose

ANKARA, Oct. 16 (Xinhua) -- Turkey announced on Monday that it has closed its airspace to flights to and from the airports of the Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).

Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag told reporters following a weekly Cabinet meeting Monday that the government made this decision upon a suggestion of the National Security Council.

"From now on, no plane will be able to fly to airports in northern Iraq and no plane taking off from airports in northern Iraq will be able to use Turkish airspace," Bozdag said in the press conference.

Bozdag also said that the Turkish government has decided to start procedures to hand over the control of Habur border gate from the KRG to Iraqi central government.

These two measures amid escalating tensions between Baghdad and the Kurdish region following last month's controversial independence referendum.

On Monday, Iraqi security forces fully recaptured the city of Kirkuk and took control of the government building after the Kurdish forces withdrew from the city, a local security source told Xinhua.

Turkey, as a country with large Kurdish population and is fighting against separatism Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK), has opposed the Kurdish referendum and urged KRG to cancel the process before it imposes strong sanctions.