A picture that shows the Turkish military drill on the border with the Kurdistan Region on September 18, 2017. Photo: Rudaw
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – The Turkish military has begun a military drill near the Kurdistan Region border, just a week before the Region's historic vote on independence is scheduled to take place.
The military said that the unannounced drill began on Monday, and at the same time “anti-terror operations” also continue in Silopi, near Habur border crossing with the Kurdistan Region.
Turkey has been fighting the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) whose headquarters are based inside the Kurdistan Region. The PKK has waged a decades-long armed struggle against the Turkish state calling for greater cultural and national rights for millions of Kurds in Turkey. Ankara considers the group a terrorist organization.
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Sunday that he will meet with Iraqi Prime Haider al-Abadi in New York on the sidelines of the annual UN General Assembly meeting.
He said that he believes the two leaders are on the same page as it comes to the protection the territorial integrity of Iraq.
Also today, the head of the Kurdistan Region’s foreign office Falah Mustafa is scheduled to meet with his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu in New York, Rudaw’s correspondent Majeed Gly reported.
Turkey has scheduled its National Security Council meeting for September 22, just three days before the Kurdistan Region votes on independence, and has said the meeting will focus on Erbil’s plans to hold the historic vote. Ankara will then announce its official stance with regard to what Erdogan had described as a “very wrong” decision by the Kurdish leadership.
President Masoud Barzani said on Saturday that Kurdistan Region has proven for the last 25 years, since its creation, that it is not a threat to any country, and that Erbil is a “factor for peace.”
The Kurdish parliament voted in a majority to back the vote on its stated time of September 25, and on Sunday the Kurdish High Referendum Council stated that they refused the current US-backed alternative to referendum as it did not meet the Kurdish demands.