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Turkish PM says Iraqi Kurdish vote grave mistake
Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim on Friday called on Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) to cancel the independence referendum in northern Iraq, describing it "a grave mistake."
Speaking to reporters in Ankara, Yildirim said the vote could ignite a new conflict in Iraq as the region is already gripped by many other problems, local channel Haber Turk reported.
"There are already big problems in the region. Creating a new problem would be particularly detrimental, first to our Kurdish brothers living there. It would be the biggest injustice," the prime minister noted.
Yildirim said he is expecting to see new developments regarding the issue after the UN's possible involvement.
"The United Nations might get involved in the controversy over the KRG's independence referendum plans in the upcoming days," he said.
Turkish Presidential Spokesperson Ibrahim Kalin said Thursday in a press briefing that Turkey has good relations with both Baghdad and Arbil but a referendum would have "consequences."
Two of Turkey's three opposition parties have also declared that they opposed an independence referendum in northern Iraq.
"Protecting the territorial integrity of Iraq is a must. This referendum is not legitimate and we do not recognize it," said main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) Spokesperson Bulent Tezcan on Wednesday.
Iraqi parliamentarians on Tuesday voted to reject the nonbinding referendum planned to be held on Sept. 25, authorizing the Iraqi prime minister to take all measures necessary to preserve Iraq's unity.
Since the KRG announced its plan to hold the referendum, most of western countries, including U.S. and EU, voiced concern about the poll.
Masoud Barzani, the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) president, said Thursday he could consider an offer to delay the independence referendum.
[Source: Xinhua, Ankara, 15Sep17]
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