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Turkey says it won't accept Kurdish independence vote

Turkey says it won't accept Kurdish independence vote

Turkey's National Security Council Meeting (MGK) which convened under President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan ended late on September 22, stressing that the Iraqi Kurdish independence referendum slated for September 25 was illegitimate and unacceptable, reported Hurriyet Daily.

The Kurdish official said that the reports quoted Pavel Talabani, the son of former President Jalal Talabani, who was expressing his personal opinion.

Iraq's Kurdistan region president Massoud Barzani, center, attends a campaign rally to support the referendum on the independence of the Kurdistan region, on September 20, 2017 in Sulaimaniya.

However, Kurdish officials say they will use it to pressure the Iraqi government in Baghdad to come to the negotiating table and formalize their independence bid.

As the jihadists of the so-called Islamic State (IS) retreat, the Arab and Kurdish forces allied against it in Iraq are turning their arms towards each other.

Iran and Turkey both have sizeable Kurdish populations of their own and fear the vote will stoke separatist aspirations at home.

"Baghdad has stated very clearly and publicly ... that they will only accept a solution within the Iraqi constitution, a constitution that they themselves have not honored", Galbraith said.

The UN Security Council warned Thursday the referendum might destabilize the region still threatened by radical Islamic militancy.

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The National Security Council's meeting was followed by a Turkish cabinet meeting that focused on countermeasures ahead of the Iraqi Kurdish vote.

Asked if Turkey would consider a cross-border operation in response to referendum, Prime Minister Binali Yildrim said to Reuters: "Naturally, it is a question of timing as to when security, economic and security options are implemented".

Baghdad this week launched offensives to oust ISIS from the last two pockets it controls in Iraq.

The non-binding referendum will see Iraqis in KRG-controlled areas - and in a handful of territories disputed between Erbil and Baghdad - vote whether to declare full independence from Iraq.

In Syria on Friday, thousands were voting in the predominantly Kurdish regions of northern Syria to elect heads of local communities as part of the minority Kurds' efforts to move closer to a federal system within Syria.

The referendum was unconstitutional, the ministers added, and will cause conflicts in the region that are hard to contain.

Iraqi Kurdish leaders are pressing ahead with the referendum, which Baghdad dismisses as illegal.

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