Independence referendum move will have a cost, Turkey warns KRG leader Barzani

Elias Hubbard
September 14, 2017

A Foreign Ministry statement released on September 14 also welcomed the Iraqi parliament vote that rejected the planned Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) referendum on September 25 as unconstitutional, reported Hurriyet Daily.

"The majority of lawmakers during the parliament session voted in favor of a draft rejecting the referendum on the independence of Kurdistan region in northern Iraq", the source said.

On June 7, the Kurdish President Masoud Barzani announced his intention to hold a referendum on the independence of the Kurdish region from Iraq on September 25.

Meanwhile, Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jafari, who was present at the Arab League summit, warned on Wednesday that Kurdish leaders should think carefully before going ahead with any independence move.

"Turkey will follow policies that take Iraq's territorial integrity as a basis", deputy prime minister Bekir Bozdag said.

Most other countries, including traditional allies such as Britain and the United States, have urged President Barzani of Iraqi Kurdistan to put off plans to hold a referendum on independence later this month. The Turkish government, which has recently restored diplomatic ties with Israel following years of estrangement, "is concerned that sovereignty for Iraqi Kurds would encourage its own Kurdish insurgents", says the news agency, while the USA believes a Kurdish vote "could destabilize the region and undercut the war on extremism".

The ministry also called on Iraq's Kurdish region "to act with good sense and abandon this erroneous approach immediately".

Turkey's fierce opposition to the idea of an independent Kurdistan comes amid a large-scale military crackdown against militants of the homegrown Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which has left thousands dead since it started two years ago.

With a population of around 5 million people, Iraq's Kurdish region already enjoys a high degree of autonomy.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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