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Ankara Confirms Agreement with Baghdad on Iraq’s Unity | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Ankara- Turkish reactions rejecting the referendum on the independence of Kurdistan region of Iraq, which is scheduled for next Monday, have continued.

At a time when Ankara continued its warnings, hundreds of Turks and Turkmen demonstrated in Istanbul Sunday, rejecting the separation of the region.

President Erdogan said at a press conference, before leaving Istanbul to the United States to attend the 72nd session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), that Iraq and Turkey are on the same page as it comes to the issue of the protection of Iraq’s unity.

Both countries have expressed in clear terms that they are opposed to Erbil’s plans to vote on whether to leave Iraq on September 25.

Erdogan told reporters: “We will hold a separate meeting with Iraqi Premier Haidar al-Abadi, but as far as I see, we are looking in the same direction. What is this direction? The territorial integrity of Iraq.”

The president said Turkey shares a 350-kilometer (217-mile) long border with Iraq, adding that both countries belong to the same civilization.

Erdogan warned northern Iraq’s Kurdish Regional Government President Masoud Barzani again against holding a referendum on independence.

“You knock our door and get any kind of support when you are in trouble, but you go your own way when it comes to the disintegration of Iraq.”

He also said Turkey’s National Security Council and Council of Ministers will convene the same day on 22 September to discuss the referendum issue and will make a decision demonstrating the “ultimate stance” of the country on it.

The referendum issue will also top the agenda during his meeting with US President Donald Trump, he added.

In this context, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim warned Friday that the Iraqi Kurdish plan to hold an independence referendum was a “grave mistake.”

“We don’t want to impose sanctions, but, if we arrive at that point, there are steps that have been already planned that Turkey can take,” Yildirim said.

Erdogan warned on Friday Barzani of going ahead with the independence referendum on September 25.
He said in a television interview: “Barzani will clearly see how sensitive we are to the vote after the national security council convenes on September 22.”

The national security council was set to meet on September 27, but Erdogan rescheduled to September 22 to precede the Kurdish vote.

Furthermore, the Turkish leader described as a “very erroneous” Barzani’s statements on the vote.