Turkey, Iran, Iraq consider joint measures against KRG referendum

Turkey, Iran, Iraq consider joint measures against KRG referendum

Turkey, Iran, Iraq consider joint measures against KRG referendum Turkey, Iran and Iraq have agreed to consider taking “coordinated counter-measures” against the Iraqi Kurdish Regional Government’s (KRG) bid to hold independence referendum at a trilateral foreign ministers’ meeting in New York, days before the Sept. 25 vote in northern Iraq. 

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif and Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim Jaferi came together on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly meetings in New York late on Sept 20. 

“We, as the foreign ministers of Turkey, Iran and Iraq evaluated developments in our region at a trilateral meeting,” stated Çavuşoğlu via his Twitter account after the meeting. 

The three ministers issued a joint communiqué after the meeting to express their joint opposition to the KRG’s referendum. 

“[The three ministers] expressed their concern that the planned referendum by the KRG … puts Iraq’s hard-earned gains against DEASH [an Arabic acronym for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant] at great risk. They further expressed their concern that the planned KRG referendum is unconstitutional and runs the risk of provoking new conflicts in the region, which will prove difficult to contain,” read the communiqué. 

The ministers registered their unequivocal opposition to the referendum and decided to urge the leadership of the KRG to refrain from holding the referendum more forcibly, also stressing that the referendum will not be beneficial for the Kurds and KRG. 

“[The ministers] agreed to consider taking coordinated counter-measures, recognizing that constructive dialogue within the Iraqi constitution is the only way forward to address issues between Baghdad and Arbil,” it added. 

Emphasizing the importance of concerted international efforts to convince the KRG to call off the referendum, the communiqué renewed the three countries’ call on the international community to remain engaged on the issue.

It also welcomed the recent liberation of the Nineveh Governorate, a major victory against ISIL, and stressed the importance of keeping the focus on liberating the remaining areas that are still under jihadist control. 

“[The three ministers] underscored the importance of post-DEASH stabilization efforts to achieve lasting security and stability in Iraq,” the statement said.