Turkey calls on the KRG authority to call off the independence referendum in Northern Iraq


Presidential Spokesperson Kalın reiterated Turkey's stance against an independence referendum at a press conference in Beştepe Presidential Complex in Ankara. He called on the KRG authority to call off the vote, instead stressing attempts to solve the crisis between KRG and Baghdad.

Presidential Spokesperson İbrahim Kalın said Thursday that the brawl in front of the Turkish embassy in Washington, D.C., was only an outcome of U.S. police's security gap and that Turkish guards did their job when those security forces failed.

Speaking at a press conference in Beştepe Presidential Complex in Ankara, Kalın said that U.S. President Donald Trump and Erdoğan will meet during the U.N. General Assembly meeting in New York, and the two parties are currently formalizing the date and time.

He then brought up the issue to the brawl between President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's security detail and PKK sympathizers in front of the Turkish embassy in Washington, D.C, on May 16 during his previous visit. The incident was met with a harsh reaction from American politicians and prosecutors, who issued indictments against 19 people, including 15 of Erdoğan's bodyguards, claiming they attacked peaceful protesters.

Kalın said that allowing protesters to get so close to President Erdoğan near the White House was an unacceptable security gap by U.S. security, adding that Turkey would never allow such a thing during a foreign leader's visit.

"The Washington Police Department and those who launched this lawsuit should first answer for that," Kalın said.

"Lawsuits were launched for bodyguards who weren't even there," he said, noting that Turkey did not accept one of its citizens or guards being unfairly charged as in this case.

While elaborating on the recent developments in Syria and the ongoing Astana process to establish de-escalation zones, Kalın also criticized the U.S. policy in the war-torn country, which has become the greatest problem between the two NATO allies over the U.S. support to PKK terrorist group's Syrian offshoot the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its armed wing People's Protection Forces (YPG).

"Due to U.S. support, everyone remains silent on human rights violations against Arabs, Turkmens or Kurds in PYD-held areas," Kalın said, criticizing the stance of Western media outlets and human rights groups for their auto-censorship.

Kalın said Turkey will discuss the Qatari crisis with relevant countries during the U.N. General Assembly.

Turkey's presidency on Thursday firmly condemned a protest at the funeral of an ex-lawmaker's mother.

"I would like to express on behalf of the presidency that we condemn this incident in the clearest way," presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalınsaid, speaking at a routine press briefing at the Presidential Complex in the capital Ankara.

He called the "inhuman attitude" showed during the incident unacceptable.

"This is an ugly approach that in no way matches our values of belief, culture, and civilization. Respect for the dead is one of the most fundamental elements of our faith and our civilization," Kalın added.

On Wednesday, in İncek, Ankara, a group of 20-25 men staged an angry protest at the funeral of Hatun Tugluk, the mother of former Deputy Aysel Tuğluk.

Tuğluk, who is a deputy co-chair of the Democratic Peoples' Party (HDP), is currently on trial on terrorism charges and was released from prison to attend the service.

Tuğluk's mother, who had been attending the trial, died on Wednesday morning, age 80.

She was buried at İncek but after the angry reaction, her family decided to move her remains to Tunceli, in eastern Anatolia.

Kalın also reiterated Turkey's stance against an independence referendum in northern Iraq.

The Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) has said the referendum will be held on Sept. 25 across the northern areas under its control.

"It will push them into isolation. Because, as you can see, so far there is not a single country, except Israel, or international organization that supports the independence referendum," Kalın said.

He called on the KRG authority to call off the vote, instead stressing attempts to solve the crisis between KRG and Baghdad under the principle of Iraq's national integrity.

Kalın added that Turkey has had good relations with the KRG and wants this to continue but that KRG authority must do its part.

"For our part, we have intent and desire to continue this relationship with the Iraqi Kurds," he explained.

"But," he underlined, "the northern Iraqi government must immediately withdraw from steps casting a shadow over and undermining this will."

"They have to contribute to this process," he said.

On Turkey's agreement to buy a Russian S-400 air defense system, Kalın said that Turkey has the right to take any necessary steps for its national security and does not need to talk with any other country in this regard.

He welcomed the NATO secretary general saying the bloc's allies can decide what equipment to buy.

"Turkey is a strong ally in NATO. Turkey's position in NATO is clear," Kalın said, adding that Ankara has "a multi-faceted foreign policy," as required by its geopolitical position.

The remarks follow President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's statement earlier this week that a first payment for the S-400 air defense system had been made to supplier Russia.

The deal has caused concern among Turkey's NATO allies, as the Russian system is incompatible with the air defenses of other NATO members.

Turkish officials, however, insist the system will be compatible with NATO technology.

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