ANKARA - Turkey will consider imposing sanctions on Kurdish northern Iraq over its planned independence referendum, President Tayyip Erdogan was cited by state-run Anadolu news agency as saying.
Turkey escalated its opposition to the Kurdish referendum on Tuesday, training tank guns and rocket launchers across the southern border and saying the break-up of its neighbors could lead to global conflict.
Erdogan, who is attending the United Nations General Assembly in New York, told world leaders on Tuesday that the referendum in northern Iraq could lead to fresh conflicts in the Middle East.
Speaking to reporters outside his hotel, Erdogan said Turkey's national security council and cabinet would discuss potential sanctions on northern Iraq when they meet on Friday.
"As the national security council, we will advise the government on our decision. With it, the cabinet will meet and discuss this. It will both evaluate this and put forth their own stance on what kind of sanctions we can impose, or if we will, but these will not be ordinary," Erdogan was quoted by Anadolu as saying.
Turkey has strong trade ties with northern Iraq's Kurdish Regional Government, which pumps hundreds of thousands of barrels of oil per day through Turkey and has approved plans for Russian oil major Rosneft to invest in pipelines to export gas to Turkey and Europe.
"We will announce our final thoughts on the issue with the cabinet meeting and national security council decision," Erdogan said. "I think it would be better if they saw this."