Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi. Composite photos: AFP
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Turkey’s president and Iraq’s prime minister rejected the Kurdistan Region’s independence referendum in a telephone call late Monday night, stressing the unity of Iraq.
According to an announcement released by the Iraq PM Haider al-Abadi’s office, the Turkish president stressed Turkey's rejection of the Kurdistan Region’s planned referendum.
Erdogan also stressed Ankara’s “full support” for Baghdad in its continued attempts “aimed at preserving the unity of Iraq.”
Erdogan had also said that his country was “keen to coordinate with Iraq for the security and stability of the region.”
Abadi, for his part, stressed “the clear position of the Iraqi government” to preserve the unity of Iraq and to prevent “all threats to civil peace.”
The ongoing fight against ISIS was another point stressed in the call by the two leaders, according to Abadi’s office.
The Turkish presidential sources confirmed the phone call to state-run Anadolu Agency, saying both leaders had stressed preserving the integrity of Iraq and agreed holding referendum by the Kurdistan Region will “raise tensions” in the region.
According to Anadolu, Erdogan and Abadi shared the view that the Iraqi Supreme Court’s (ISC) ruling on Monday to suspend the referendum was “right.”
At the request of Abadi asking the court not to allow “any region or province to separate from Iraq," the ISC had ruled to suspend the Kurdish independence referendum until it makes a final ruling on the case.
The Kurdistan Region is scheduled to hold a referendum on independence on September 25.
The office of the Iraqi PM Abadi said that he filed the court case against Kurdish President Masoud Barzani and the Kurdistan parliament Speaker Yousif Mohammed.
The Kurdish parliament voted on Friday to back the referendum at its stated time.
On multiple occasions, Ankara and Baghdad have expressed opposition to the referendum.
Ankara announced that they will officially express their stance on Friday during a meeting of its National Security Council.
President of the Kurdistan Region Masoud Barzani has asked why all of a sudden Iraq’s neighbors are so concerned with the country.
“[The] one thing that is surprising to me is: I wish I knew since when have you become so worried about the territorial integrity of Iraq, the sovereignty of Iraq, and the constitution of Iraq?" Barzani asked rhetorically on Saturday while addressing a large independence rally.
"This is important to me since these days these [things] have become important to our neighbors,” he added.
He emphasized that the Kurdistan Region, established as a de facto semi-autonomous region in 1992, has been peaceful towards its neighbors.
“It has been 25 years that we have proved that we are a factor for peace, prosperity, and coexistence. We are not a threat to anyone,” the Kurdish president continued.