Turkey warns Iraqi Kurdish referendum will ‘have a cost’

Turkey’s Prime Minister Binali Yildirim (right), speaks with Iraqi Kurdish leader Massoud Barzani in Ankara Feb. 27, 2017.

:: Turkey on Thursday warned Iraqi Kurdish leaders that a planned independence referendum would “have a cost” as Ankara welcomed a vote by Iraq’s parliament against the poll.

The non-binding referendum set for September 25 has faced strong opposition from Turkey as well as from Iran, which fear it will stoke separatist aspirations among their own sizeable Kurdish minorities.

Iraq’s parliament on Tuesday voted down the plan in a session which prompted a walkout by Kurdish lawmakers.

The Turkish foreign ministry warned in a statement that the Iraqi Kurdish leaders’ call for a referendum was “worrying”.

Friendly advise

The Iraqi Kurdish government’s “insistence on the referendum despite all friendly advise will definitely have a cost”, the ministry said, urging Erbil to return from their “erroneous approach.”

The ministry said it welcomed the decision made by the Iraqi parliament, adding that their vote was a “clear indicator of importance attached to Iraq’s political unity and territorial integrity”.

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