Russian President Vladimir Putin holds a joint presser with Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey's president in Ankara. Photo: AA
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has condemned Kurdistan’s independence referendum as “non-binding” and “illegitimate.”
In a televised press conference, Erdogan said Kurdistan persisted in holding the vote despite all warnings. He called the vote a huge mistake.
The press conference was held jointly with Russian President Vladimir Putin following a meeting between the two leaders.
He warned that Turkey will take measures against the Kurdistan Region to ensure no more mistakes are made. No one has the right to set the region on fire, he said.
Erdogan added that he had discussed this issue with Putin.
He stressed the importance of preserving the territorial integrity and political unity of Iraq.
Putin was in Turkey to hold talks with Erdogan on Iraq and Syria as well as Turkey’s purchase of a Russian-made missile defense system.
Putin said in the press conference that Russia's position on the referendum was already made public by the foreign ministry.
Russia has said it respects Kurds’ desire to form a state but pressed for dialogue with Baghdad and not the unilateral declaration of independence.
“The Russian party believes it to be of utmost importance to avoid anything that risks to further complicate and destabilize the Middle East, which is already overloaded by conflict situations,” Russia’s Foreign Ministry stated after preliminary referendum results were released.