>> Iraq's Kurds are being grounded after voting an overwhelming yes for independence. International flights to and from Iraq's Kurdistan region are stopping Friday evening after the central government imposed a ban in retaliation for the region's referendum on statehood. These passengers in Istanbul are some of the last to fly in to Erbil.
> We are not the source of the problem. The problem is from the Iraqi government. We had to make a decision for our future, and this is our right. Just like Turkey and Iran, we have the right to have our own land.>> The Kurds are calling the ban collective punishment.
The unofficial independence bid was condemned by just about everyone. Turkey and Iran, with their own large Kurdish populations, have been particularly vocal. But Reuters Turkey bureau chief, Dominic Evans, says while there's been a lot of threats from Ankara, so far they've only joined the flight ban.>> It has yet to take any stronger steps.
And so far all we've heard is strong language and threats. The Turkish Prime Minister, Binali Yildirim, has also said that any measures will be taken trying to target those who actually carried out the referendum, not the civilians in Northern Iraq. Which would suggest that Turkey does not want to take sweeping actions.
>> Kurdish leaders insist the referendum is legitimate, and they now have a mandate to start negotiations. But Iraqi Prime Minister, Haider al-Abadi, is refusing to engage in talks. The UN and US have both offered to help mediate. And there is a belief that only direct dialogue is the way forward.
But it's not clear when that will happen.