Turkish And Iraqi Chiefs of Staff Meet In Ankara To Discuss “Illegitimate” Referendum In Iraqi Kurdistan

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Turkish And Iraqi Chiefs of Staff Meet In Ankara To Discuss “Illegitimate” Referendum In Iraqi Kurdistan

ANKARA, TURKEY – SEPTEMBER 23: Turkish Chief of General Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar (L) welcomes Iraqi Army Chief of Staff Gen. Othman al-Ghanimi (R) with official ceremony prior to their meeting at General Staff headquarters in Ankara, Turkey on September 23, 2017. ( Erçin Top – Anadolu Agency )

On September 23, Turkey Prime Minister, Binali Yıldırım told reporters in the province of Kırşehir that the Turkish response for the upcoming Kurdistan Region independence referendum on September 25 will be political, diplomatic and economic.

“The steps will be taken in close cooperation with Iraq, Iran and other neighboring countries. These measures will have diplomatic, political, economic and security dimensions,” Yıldırım said.

Moreover, Yıldırım described the Kurdistan Region independence referendum as a “wrong decision,”. Yıldırım also said that “Turkey has given the necessary warning in a friendly way since the beginning. But we see that these warnings have not been heeded.”

Yıldırım statement came after he submitted a motion in the Turkish Parliament on September 22 to allow the extension of the Turkish state’s authority to launch cross-border military operations in northern Iraq and Syria for another year.

Meanwhile, Iraqi Army Iraqi Army Chief of Staff General Othman al-Ghanimi arrived to the Turkish Ankara on September 23 and met with his Turkish counterpart Generals Hulusi Akar at the General Staff headquarters in the capital.

According to an official statement of the Turkish Army the two Generals discussed the “illegitimate” Iraqi Kurdish referendum, and stressed the importance of maintaining Iraq’s territorial integrity. The meeting can be considered as an indirect threat to the Kurdistan Region Government (KRG).

In a related Development, Kurdistan President Masoud Barzani confirmed to the French ambassador to Iraq Bruno Aubert at a meeting in Erbil on September 23 that the referendum will be held in September 25 as planned according to an official statement of the Kurdistan Presidency.

“No time is not left to talk about postponing [the Kurdistan Region independence referendum] and the decision is not in the hands of a party or person… The referendum will take place on time,” Barzani told Bruno during the meeting according to the official state.

Furthermore, the KRG denied any reports about postponing the Kurdistan Region independence referendum. By this the KRG closed the door to any easy political solution for the referendum crisis.

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