President Turgut ozal provided for Turkey's emergence in the forefront in the international arena and an active role with the Western allies through his personal diplomatic initiatives during the Gulf Crisis that started with the occupation of Kuwait by Iraq in August 1990. Turkey was one of the first countries which implemented the economic embargo imposed on Iraq by the UN Security Council. Turkey closed down the oil pipeline which carried the Iraqi petroleum to Yumurtalik Port in Turkey. Turkey also permitted her allies to use the US airbases in Turkey for air operations during the Gulf War that broke out in 1990. Immediately after the Gulf War in the spring of 1991, Turkey was confronted with an immigration wave of close to one million Northern Iraqi refugees, composed mainly of the people of Kurdish origin. After the allies declared the Iraqi territory to the north of the 36th parallel a "Security Zone", a great portion of these refugees returned to their homes.