Opposition CHP deputy says Iraq must stay undivided

ANADOLU AGENCY
ANKARA
Published 14.08.2017 23:35

The deputy chairman of Turkey's opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) has said Ankara should support Iraq's territorial integrity.

Speaking in Parliament on Monday, Özturk Yılmaz said a coming independence referendum to be held by the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) was against Iraq's constitution and international law.

Yılmaz also warned a "new geography" would develop in Turkey's neighborhood if Iraq's borders changed and the country were to be divided. Turkey, the U.K. and Iraq signed the Treaty of Ankara in 1926 to define a settled frontier between Turkey and Iraq. Turkey signed on the condition Iraq's territorial integrity was maintained. Earlier this year, Turkmen in northern Iraq, a Turkic ethnic minority, rejected the planned referendum on whether the northern Kurdish region should formally secede from the Iraqi state.

September's non-binding referendum has also been rejected by Iraq's central government in Baghdad which says it could adversely affect the region's ongoing fight against the Daesh terrorist group.

Turkey, too, rejects the planned referendum, saying that maintenance of Iraq's territorial integrity is inextricably linked to the region's stability. The U.S. has likewise expressed concern the referendum would serve as a "distraction" from other pressing regional issues, especially the fight against terrorism and Iraq's stabilization.

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