Erdoğan to meet opposition leaders over KRG referendum


Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (L) meets with Chairman of Republican People's Party Kemal Kilicdaroglu (C) and Chairman of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) Devlet Bahceli (R). (AFP Photo)
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will meet Turkish opposition leaders this coming week over the Kurdistan Regional Government's (KRG) illegitimate referendum in Northern Iraq.

Responding to journalists' questions after delivering the opening speech at the Turkish parliament's third legislative session on Sunday, Erdoğan said he would meet with leaders of the Republican People's Party (CHP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).

"I will meet with [ MHP's Devlet] Bahçeli on Thursday," said Erdoğan. "After that, according to circumstances, I will take the opinion of [CHP's Kemal] Kılıçdaroğlu [...]"

Erdoğan added that he would form an opinion on the illegitimate referendum after the meetings.

Monday's illegitimate poll saw Iraqis in KRG-controlled areas -- and in a handful of territories disputed between Erbil and Baghdad, including ethnically mixed Kirkuk and Mosul -- vote on whether or not to declare independence from Iraq's central government.

Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım also spoke to journalists at the parliament and called on the KRG to work with the Iraqi central government to find a solution to the crisis in the region.

He said: "It is clear what to do. They should come together with the Iraqi government and they should guarantee the rights of Northern Iraq's administration."

Yıldırım added that Turkey would support such diplomatic contacts. "So that this issue is smoothed over," he added.

According to preliminary figures released by the KRG, almost 93 percent of voters cast ballots in favor of independence from Baghdad.

The illegitimate referendum in northern Iraq had faced sharp opposition from most regional and international actors, many of whom had warned that the poll would further destabilize the Middle East.

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