Erdoğan says helped Barzani to pay salaries, but not appreciated

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (R) and President of Iraqi Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) Masoud Barzani (L) shake hands during their meeting at Mabeyn Palace in Istanbul, Turkey on February 26, 2017. Kayhan Ozer / Anadolu Agency

Amid tension over the Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) independence referendum to be held on Sept. 25, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan criticized KRG President Massoud Barzani, saying Ankara gave him a $2 billion loan to pay the salaries of his public workers but that he did not appreciate it, Haberturk reported.

“Barzani has strained the relations to the point of cutoff. Whey they were unable to pay the salaries of their civil servants, we helped them. I was prime minister at the time. We gave them a $2 billion loan. But they didn’t appreciate it. Neither the US nor Russia helped them like we did,” Erdoğan told a group of Turkish journalist in New York.

Erdoğan on Wednesday threatened to impose sanctions on Kurdish northern Iraq over the planned independence vote.

Erdoğan and his US counterpart, Donald Trump, who met on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly on Thursday, reaffirmed their opposition to the KRG’s independence referendum.

Following a Cabinet meeting chaired by Erdoğan in Ankara late on Friday, Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ called on the KRG to cancel the referendum completely.

“We are also against its postponement. To postpone means to allow it to happen in the future. This referendum must be canceled in a way that will not be repeated again,” Bozdağ said.

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