Turkey says Iraqi Kurdistan vote 'illegitimate'

Turkish government slammed a planned independence referendum in Iraq's Kurdistan region next week as illegitimate, indicating that Ankara was prepared to retaliate if it went ahead
Friday, 22 September 2017 22:11

Turkey's National Security Council or MGK on Friday called upcoming Iraqi Kurdistan's independence referendum illegal and unacceptable, and said Ankara will defend the international law.

"This referendum is illegal and unacceptable. It is a grave error that threatens peace in the region," the council said in a statement following a meeting chaired by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

"If the referendum is held, Turkey will defend international law," the statement said.

Despite opposition from Turkey, Iran and the United States, the Kurdistan Regional Government's leaders have said they will hold the non-binding independence vote on September 25.

The MGK said the plan was a "grave mistake" and "a step that directly threatens Turkey's national security" and called on Iraqi Kurdish leaders to scrap it.

Despite enjoying strong ties with the regional Kurdish government in northern Iraq in recent years, Turkish AKP government opposes moves toward Kurdish independence.

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım on Friday again called on Iraqi Kurdish leaders to abandon plans for a referendum on independence, saying it wasn't too late for them to turn away "from this adventure."