Published: Thu, September 14, 2017
World | By Paul Elliott

Iraqi Kurdish referendum is a 'historic mistake': Turkey

Iraqi Kurdish referendum is a 'historic mistake': Turkey

The announcement, made yesterday by the office of Binyamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, is a reflection of the close relationship that has developed in recent years between the autonomous region and Israel.

"We find the (Iraqi Kurdish) leadership's insistent stance regarding the referendum and its increasingly emotional statements worrying", read a different statement released on Thursday, this time by Turkey's Foreign Ministry.

"Israel has maintained discreet military, intelligence and business ties with the Kurds since the 1960s", says Reuters, "viewing the minority ethnic group - whose indigenous population is split between Iraq, Turkey, Syria and Iran - as a buffer against shared Arab adversaries".

"The Kurdistan [Region] is an important friend and neighbor of Turkey and shall continue to be so", they said.

An Israeli general told in a conference in Washington last week that he personally does not consider the PKK, whose rebels have been conducting an armed rebellion against the Turkish state for more than three decades, as a terrorist group.

His latest words, however, can be seen as a more direct support for the creation of a Kurdish state.

Turkey urges the Iraqi Kurdistan regional government to abandon the referendum that could result in tensions in the region.

Turkey on Thursday welcomed an Iraqi parliament move to reject a referendum on Kurdish independence.The parliament in Baghdad authorised the prime minister to "take all measures" to preserve Iraq's unity in response to the move to hold an independence referendum in Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdish region on September 25.Kurdish leader Massoud Barzani vowed to press ahead with the vote, calling it "a natural right"."Barzani's referendum decision is a historic mistake".

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