(photo credit: JPOST STAFF)
HABUR BORDER CROSSING, Turkey - Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan threatened to impose sanctions against Kurdish northern Iraq over a planned independence vote, piling economic pressure on Kurdish authorities after Turkish troops deployed near the main commercial border crossing.
Turkey, home to the largest Kurdish population in the region, has warned that any breakup of neighboring Iraq or Syria could lead to a global conflict, and is due to prepare a formal response on Friday, three days before the referendum.
Erdogan said the Turkish cabinet and security council would discuss Ankara's options. They will "put forward their own stance on what kind of sanctions we can impose, or if we will," he told reporters in New York, according to Anadolu news agency.
"But these will not be ordinary," Erdogan said.
Iraqi Kurdish authorities have defied growing international pressure to call off the vote, which Iraq's neighbours fear will fuel unrest among their own Kurdish populations. Western allies say it could detract from the fight against Islamic State.
On Monday, the Turkish army launched a highly visible military drill near the Habur border crossing, which military sources said was due to last until Sept. 26, a day after the planned referendum.