Turkey’s energy minister has defended a move to close some gas lines in the country amid a crisis over the ongoing closure of a pipeline in the Kurdish city of Irbil.
Turkish Energy Minister Cemil Akdogan said on Tuesday that the government would close the pipeline in Irbil and restart it in Turkey’s capital Ankara after a court ordered the move in a case involving the Kurdish town of Kobane.
Akdogan told a parliamentary committee that the closure of the gas lines would not affect Ankara’s energy security, despite concerns raised by Kurdish and Arab officials.
The gas lines were originally slated to run from Irbil to Istanbul, but they were later cut to prevent the flow of goods between the two cities, leaving Kobane as the only possible supply point for Kobane residents.
The city has been under siege by ISIS for weeks.
Akdin said that the pipeline was part of Turkey’s national security plan and that the measures were necessary to prevent Kurdish militants from infiltrating the country.
The country has been on edge since the fall of the Ottoman Empire in 1924.
Turkey is a NATO member and an ally of the United States.