Turkey, Politics, Middle East

Turkey warns KRG against independence referendum

Foreign Ministry says there would be a 'price' if Kurdish Regional Government insists on referendum

Turkey warns KRG against independence referendum


There will be a “price” if Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdish region goes ahead with a planned independence referendum, Turkey warned Thursday.

The Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) has said the referendum will be held on Sept. 25 across the northern areas under its control.

In a statement, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said: “We stress the KRG needs to consider that there will absolutely be a price for insisting on… holding a referendum despite all the friendly suggestions [to do otherwise].

“In this respect, we are calling on the KRG to act with common sense and to give up its mistaken approach as soon as possible.”

The ministry also expressed its support for Tuesday’s decision by the Iraqi parliament to oppose the independence poll and called on the government in Baghdad to negotiate with the Erbil-based KRG.

It said parliament’s decision was a “clear expression of the importance that was attached on Iraq’s political unity and territorial integrity”.

Turkey wants Baghdad and Erbil to resolve the dispute through dialogue and conduct relations based on the constitution and justice, the statement added.

Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag later urged the KRG to cancel the referendum.

Speaking at Anadolu Agency’s Editors' Desk, he said: “If the referendum is not cancelled, there will surely be a price for it.”

He added that the referendum would create instability, crisis and chaos. “Other security risks and many problems which cannot be predicted today will emerge.”

The Baghdad government has said the referendum would damage the fight against Daesh and would be unconstitutional.

Turkey and the U.S. are also opposed to the vote, with Ankara saying regional stability depended on Iraq’s unity and territorial integrity.

Reporting by Ecenur Colak;Nilay Kar

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