Iraqi Kurdistan vote poses direct threat to Turkish national security: Turkey

Posted September 24, 2017

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim warned on Saturday that Ankara's actions in response to a controversial independence referendum in Iraq's Kurdistan region would have "economic and security dimensions".

"It's impossible to think that the leadership would then cancel the referendum", Galbraith, a former US ambassador to Croatia, told VOA Kurdish by phone from Irbil, the capital of the Kurdish region.

"The same people who are threatening us have not come to ask why we are holding a referendum", Barzani said, according to a report from Kurdish news portal Rudaw.

Defence Minister Nurettin Canikli said the extension was meant to protect Turkey from "threats", adding that the Kurdish Regional Government's planned vote on Monday was a "threat to national security".

"They said that they would only support the dialogue for the pre-referendum [period]".

Kurds celebrate to show their support for the upcoming September 25th independence referendum in Erbil, Iraq September 22, 2017.

The Iraqi politician also said Tehran and Ankara would react decisively and prudently to the Kurdish demand for independence.

The United Nations Security Council today expressed concern over the "potentially destabilizing impact" of the Kurdistan Regional Government's plans to unilaterally hold a referendum next week, the UN reported on its official website.

A "yes" vote in the independence referendum would not spell immediate independence for the Kurdish region, since the referendum does not have legal force.

"We have to ramp up our efforts to prevent the referendum and independence from happening", said Hadi al-Amiri, secretary general of the Badr Organization, an important wing of the multiparty Shiite al-Shaabi paramilitary force.

He explained that it was too late to call off the vote despite global pressure, adding that he would not postpone the referendum to please foreign capitals.

Barzani also rejected an initiative from Iraqi President Fuad Massum, a Kurd, for negotiations.

Massum, in a document seen by AFP, suggested starting UN-backed talks towards a deal with Baghdad. Security experts fear further turmoil will allow IS to regroup.

Yildirim was speaking before the Turkish parliament holds an extraordinary session Saturday to discuss the extension of an existing mandate to use Turkish troops overseas in Syria and Iraq. "Baghdad believed the Kurds were divided and could not complete the referendum".