Erdoğan says Iraqi Kurds' independence referendum ‘does not serve anybody’s interest’
AA photoA referendum to be held by the Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) on independence this fall will not serve anybody’s interest, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said, expressing his regret for Arbil's decision.
“The [referendum] statement by the northern Iraqi authority in Iraq deeply saddened us,” Erdoğan told ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) lawmakers on June 13.
“A step toward the independence of northern Iraq is a threat to the territorial integrity of Iraq, and it is wrong,” he added.
The KRG announced that it will hold a referendum over the future status of the semi-autonomous region on Sept. 25, sparking fresh questions about the already fragile regional stability.
“We would wish that these steps would be taken as a result of consultations. We have always defended the territorial integrity of Iraq. A step in such a crucial process does not serve anybody’s interest,” he said.
Along with Turkey, the United States and many global and regional powers expressed their disturbance with the KRG’s plan to go to a referendum amid tumultuous politics in the region due to the ongoing civil war in Syria and the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).