Turkish president speaks with Iraqi PM on phone
AP photoTurkey’s president and Iraq’s prime minister late on Sept. 18 discussed the planned referendum in the Iraqi Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) slated for Sept. 25, according to Turkish presidential sources.
The sources said President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Haidar al-Abadi spoke on the phone just a week before the independence referendum.
The two leaders stressed the importance of Iraq’s territorial integrity and agreed that the insistence on holding the referendum will raise tensions in the region, the sources said.
They added that the leaders agreed that the Iraqi Supreme Court’s ruling on Sept. 18 to suspend the referendum was “right.”
Erdoğan and al-Abadi also discussed fighting terrorism, especially the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), sources said.
Turkey, the U.S., Iran and the U.N. have all backed Baghdad in speaking out against the referendum planned for the Kurdish-controlled areas of northern Iraq, saying the vote would distract from operations against ISIL and lead to greater instability in the region.
KRG President Masoud Barzani said earlier a “Yes” vote would not mean a declaration of independence but would lead to negotiations with Baghdad.