President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan presided over a security summit in the Presidential Complex in Ankara's Beştepe district on Wednesday after the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) went ahead with its controversial referendum despite wide-spread opposition.
At the closed-press meeting, latest developments in the region regarding the referendum, the current situation in Iraq and Syria, and the fight against terrorism were discussed.
Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım, Chief of General Staff Hulusi Akar, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu, National Defense Minister Nurettin Canikli and other senior bureaucrats also attended the summit, which began around 09:00 p.m. local time and lasted about two and a half hours.
The KRG, led by Masoud Barzani, held a controversial independence referendum Monday, despite widespread criticism from regional powers, the Iraqi central government, the U.S., the U.K. and the EU. Leaders who oppose the KRG referendum argue that Iraq's territorial integrity must be protected and that focus should be honed on the fight against Daesh, arguing that an Iraqi Kurdistan would compromise the stability of a unified Iraq and bring further chaos and conflict to a region already reeling from instability, civil war and political turmoil. The only country supporting the KRG vote has been Israel.
Reiterating Ankara's strong opposition to Irbil's insistence on independence, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Tuesday warned the KRG that its independence aims could result in long-term political, economic, commercial and security steps that would put the KRG in a helpless situation.
Ankara has recently been in close contact with Baghdad and Tehran over the KRG referendum regarding what measures will be taken. In addition, Ankara has called on the Barzani to give up on independence, claiming those efforts could drag the region into further chaos and conflict. Ankara also considers the KRG independence move to be a national security threat for Turkey.
The Turkish military and the Iraqi army are currently conducting joint military drills at the border, which have been ongoing since last week.