PM Yıldırım calls on KRG leader Barzani to turn back from referendum decision


At speaking to reporters in Ankara on Friday, Turkish Premier Binali Yıldırım called on the Kurdish Regional Government's leader Masoud Barzani to turn back from their independence referendum decision which called by Turkey as a grave mistake.

Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım said Friday that the United Nations might get involved in the controversy over the Kurdish Regional Government's independence referendum plans in the upcoming days.

Speaking to reporters in Ankara following Friday prayers, Yıldırım called on KRG leader Masoud Barzani to turn back from the decision to hold the vote, calling it "a grave mistake."

The prime minister said he is expecting to see new developments regarding the issue after the U.N.'s possible involvement.

Yıldırım reiterated on Friday Turkey's calls to cancel the independence referendum in northern Iraq.

"As Turkey, we are making a friendly appeal to Mr. Masoud Barzani," he told reporters in the capital Ankara, urging Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) President Masoud Barzani to modify his "wrong" position.

His remarks came a day after Barzani said he could consider an offer to delay the independence referendum scheduled for Sept. 25.

"[…] There are already big problems in the region. There is a fight against the PKK and Daesh. There is a civilian war [that has been] ongoing in Syria for years. Creating a new problem, while all of these continue, would be particularly detrimental, first to our Kurdish brothers living there. It would constitute the biggest injustice," Yıldırım added.

The non-binding referendum will see residents of northern Iraq's Kurdish region vote on whether or not to declare formal independence from Baghdad.

Baghdad rejects the planned poll, saying it will adversely affect the fight against the Daesh terrorist group, which still maintains a significant presence in northern Iraq.

The Iraqi government also believes that holding the referendum would violate the terms of the country's constitution.

Turkey, too, rejects it, saying the region's stability depends on the unity of Iraq and the maintenance of its territorial integrity.

Ankara expressed its support for the Iraqi parliament's decision Tuesday to oppose the independence vote, calling on the government in Baghdad to negotiate with the Erbil-based KRG.

Iraqi parliamentarians on Tuesday voted to reject the nonbinding referendum planned to be held on Sept. 25, authorizing the Iraqi prime minister to take all measures necessary to preserve Iraq's unity.

A "yes" vote in the independence referendum would not spell immediate independence for the Kurdish region, since the referendum does not have legal force. 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.

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