PM Yıldırım, Iraqi counterpart Abadi say willing to cooperate on cancellation of KRG referendum

DAILY SABAH
ISTANBUL
Published 15.09.2017 19:38
Updated 15.09.2017 19:53
PM Yıldırım (L) and Iraqi counterpart Abadi
PM Yıldırım (L) and Iraqi counterpart Abadi

Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım held a phone call with his Iraqi counterpart Haider Al-Abadi late Friday.

In the phone call, the leaders said that they are willing to cooperate on cancellation of Kurdistan Regional Government's (KRG) referendum on independence from Iraq.

Both premiers reiterated that KRG's decision is wrong and will have grave consequences.

"The decision taken by the KRG is wrong from beginning to end, and it will be the best choice to avoid such a mistake as soon as possible," PM Yıldırım said in the phone call.

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

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.

Yıldırım said the vote could ignite a new conflict in Iraq as the region is already gripped by many other problems.

Answering whether Turkey would enforce sanctions on the KRG if it finalizes its referendum plans, Yıldırım said he hoped the situation would not reach that point but Turkey is ready to take all necessary steps.

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