Northern Iraq's Kurdish Regional Government hands over control of main border gate with Turkey to Iraq's central government
Control of the Ibrahim Khalil border gate between Turkey and northern Iraq has been handed over to Baghdad, Turkey's prime minister announced on Tuesday.
Speaking at the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party’s parliamentary group meeting, Binali Yildirim said Turkish officials will remain in control of the Habur border gate on the Turkish side of the border, while from now on the Ibrahim Khalil gate on the Iraqi side will be in the control of Iraqi authorities.
Northern Iraq's Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) handed over control to Iraqi forces following a Turkish-Iraqi joint military deployment to the border crossing earlier in the day.
The Ibrahim Khalil border gate, also known as the Habur crossing on the Turkish side, is the main crossing between Turkey and Iraq.
Early on Tuesday, troops of both Turkey and Iraq, who have been holding a joint military drill in Turkey’s southeastern province of Sirnak since mid-September, advanced towards the border crossing.
The Iraqi central government has sought to take control of the gate, which has been under the control of the KRG forces, since an illegitimate referendum on Kurdish regional independence on Sept. 25.
The referendum was broadly opposed by the international community, including Turkey, as well as Baghdad, which pointed out that the poll was unconstitutional.