Turkish nationalist group set to visit Iraq's Kirkuk
A Turkish nationalist group affiliated with the Grand Unity Party (BBP) announced on Thursday their plan to visit the Iraqi Turkmen city of Kirkuk after Oct. 5.
Alperen Ocaklari's announcement followed Monday's illegitimate independence referendum held by northern Iraq's Kurdish Regional Government (KRG).
Speaking at a news conference at the group's Istanbul headquarters, provincial head Kursat Mircan said that the referendum violated both international agreements and the Iraqi constitution, and aimed to establish "a second Zionist state" in the region.
"The goal of this referendum is not to establish an innocent Kurdish state, but rather a second Israel which is a product of Zionism," said Mircan, adding that this consituted a "grave danger both for Turkey and northern Iraq".
The illegitimate referendum 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.
In recent days, Ankara has launched a military exercise across the border from KRG territory and threatened restrictions at the main frontier crossing.
Along with Iraq's central government, Turkey, the U.S., Iran, and the UN have spoken out against Monday's illegitimate poll, warning it would distract from the ongoing fight against Daesh and further destabilize the region.
Mircan said that the lives of the Turkmen community in the region were in danger, and warned against a danger of "systematic genocide".
"200 volunteer members of our group will go to Kirkuk after October 5 to be with our brothers," said Mircan. "We will show (KRG President Masoud) Barzani the power of Turks."
Alperen Ocaklari was founded on Oct. 1, 1992.