Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan chaired a meeting of Turkey’s National Security Council on Friday. Photo: Official
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Turkey has called on the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) to cancel Monday’s independence referendum, which is illegitimate, unacceptable, and a “direct threat” to Turkey’s security.
Turkey’s National Security Council met on Friday with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan presiding. After their meeting, the council issued a statement saying the referendum is “threatening Turkey’s national security,” according to Hurriyet Daily News.
“The illegitimacy of the referendum announced by the KRG as on Sept. 25 and its unacceptance was once again specified. It was strongly stressed that this step which directly threatens Turkey’s national security was a grave mistake that threatens Iraq’s political unity and territorial integrity as well as peace, security and stability of the region,” the statement read.
The Security Council further stated that Turkey would reserve its rights arising from bilateral and international agreements if Kurdistan proceeds with the vote despite Turkey’s warnings.
Earlier on Friday, Turkey’s Prime Minister Binali Yildirim told reporters that it was not too late for Kurdistan President Masoud Barzani to give up on the referendum.
“This referendum, which is opposed by the whole world and is illegal to international law, will not bring happiness to our Kurdish brothers in the region,” he said, according to state-run Anadolu Agency.
He expressed specific concern over the ethnically diverse city of Kirkuk taking part in the vote. He said that 70 percent of Kirkuk’s original population was Turkmen and so holding a referendum in a city that had seen its demographic makeup changed would be “unlawful.”
He added that Turkey “will not hesitate and is determined to use its rights coming from international, national and bilateral treaties regarding its own national security.”
Turkish leaders have said they would consider imposing sanctions on Kurdistan if the vote goes ahead.
Speaking to tens of thousands at a rally in the Kurdistan capital on Friday, the last day of campaigning before Monday’s vote, Barzani said the vote would go ahead and people would have the choice between subordination within Iraq or the freedom of independence.
Last updated at 9:27pm