Turkey stops training Iraqi Kurdish peshmerga after independence vote


A central government imposed ban on global flights servicing airports in Iraq's Kurdish region has gone into effect Friday.

On Wednesday, the Iraqi Civil Aviation Authority (ICAA) said in a statement that all worldwide flights to and from Erbil and Sulaymaniyah airports would be suspended starting from 15:00 GMT on Friday.

At Irbil International airport, hundreds of passengers lined up for flights out of the Kurdish region in the hours before the central government's flight ban took effect Friday evening.

UAE-based Air Arabia and low-priced carrier FlyDubai said they would also suspend flights, while Doha-based Qatar Airways announced that it would comply with the civil aviation authority's ruling.

The Kurds have condemned the flight suspension as "collective punishment".

All air traffic between Iran and the worldwide airports of Irbil and Sulaymaniyah, located in Iraqi Kurdistan, was halted on Sunday at Baghdad's behest.

Official results showed that 92.73 percent of voters backed statehood in Monday's non-binding referendum, with turnout estimated at 72.61 percent.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.

On Wednesday, Abadi demanded the results of the vote be "annulled" and talks take place "in the framework of the constitution".

Illegitimate KRG poll referred to lands in N Iraq Turkey Iran and Syria

The State Department said it was "deeply disappointed" the vote had gone ahead.

He said the Kurdistan Region is ready for talks and negotiations on all outstanding issues with Iraq as two brother nations.

Turkey has threatened to close down an oil pipeline used by Kurdistan for exports.

The KRG also vowed to take legal measures to counter recent decisions by the Iraqi parliament, which on Wednesday asked Mr Abadi to send troops to the oil-rich Kirkuk region and other disputed areas now controlled by Kurdish forces. "These aspirations, ultimately, can not be advanced through unilateral measures such as this referendum", Tillerson wrote.

Attempts to isolate the Kurds also came from Turkey. And Sharjah-based Air Arabia said it will "temporarily suspend its flights" from Saturday in line with the order it received from the Iraqi Civil Aviation Authority.

Speaking in the central Turkish province of Corum, Yildirim said Turkey, Iran and Iraq were doing their best to overcome the crisis caused by the referendum with the minimum damage.

Turkey and Iran, which both have their own Kurdish minorities, have denounced the referendum, while the United States described it as "unilateral" and lacking legitimacy.

The Iraqi government has rejected any talks with the KRG and demanded that the Kurdish leadership cancel the result in order to avoid sanctions, global isolation and possibly a military intervention.