Turkey to take stronger steps in response to Iraqi Kurdish referendum - Erdogan

Posted October 05, 2017

"The Iraqi Kurdish secession vote is an act of betrayal toward the entire region and a threat to its future".

The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) held a non-binding referendum last week, in which almost 93 percent of voters backed the referendum, voting in favor of seceding from Iraq and forming a sovereign country. But Kurdish leaders have said they will use it to press for negotiations on eventually forming their own state. "A referendum which was conducted by sitting side by side with Mossad has no legitimacy", he said, referring to the Israeli intelligence agency.

The two presidents are expected to discuss the Syrian crisis and the situation in Iraq, including the "independence referendum" held in the Kurdish autonomy of Iraq. The US, meanwhile, had opposed the vote, calling it provocative and destabilizing.

Mr Erdogan said on Saturday that Iraqi Kurdistan "will pay a price" for the "unacceptable" referendum.

"What is the goal of the referendum in Northern Iraq Regional Administration?"

The three countries warned Irbil to step back, against which the Iraqi armed forces launched military drills both with Turkey and Iran near the KRG border.

Catalan police ordered to crack down on disputed ballot
Millo said he would "keep hoping until the last minute that the Catalan government has a change of heart and calls off the referendum ".

Those exercises have also involved forces of the federal government in Baghdad, which has demanded the annulment of the September 25 vote, which returned a 92.7 per cent majority for independence.

Kurdish referendum is a foreign sectarian plot, he added.

Turkey has threatened to close its land border and halt the export of oil from Iraqi Kurdistan to the Turkish port of Ceyhan, an economic lifeline. In Turkey, a 30-year insurgency waged by Kurdistan's Workers' Party (PKK) militants has recently flared up since a ceasefire broke down nearly two years ago.

The Turkish President is visiting Iran at the invitation of Rouhani and against the backdrop of the recent Iraqi Kurdistan controversial independence referendum, a source of concern for both neighbours.

The vote was strongly opposed by the central government in Baghdad, Iran, Turkey and other countries including the United States.

Erdoğan said the de-escalation zones in Syria, establish under guarantee of Turkey, Iran and Russian Federation, are of importance for Turkey, as they would help liberate civilians from terrorist groups such as Daesh.