Erdogan backs Baghdad's stance on territorial integrity

President warns Iraqi regional government against holding referendum, says Ankara and Baghdad are looking in same direction

Erdogan backs Baghdad's stance on territorial integrity

World Bulletin / News Desk

Ankara and Baghdad are looking in the “same direction” on the issue of territorial integrity of Iraq, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Sunday.

Speaking to reporters at Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport before leaving for New York to attend the 72nd session of the UN General Assembly, Erdogan said: “We will hold a separate meeting with [Iraqi Premier] Haidar al-Abadi, but as far as I see, we are looking in the same direction. What is this direction? The territorial integrity of Iraq.”

The president said Turkey shares a 350-kilometer (217-mile) long border with Iraq, adding that both countries belong to the same civilization.

Erdogan warned northern Iraq’s Kurdish Regional Government President Masoud Barzani again against holding a referendum on independence.

“You knock our door and get any kind of support when you are in trouble, but you go your own way when it comes to the disintegration of Iraq.”

He also said Turkey’s National Security Council and Council of Ministers will convene the same day on 22 September to discuss the referendum issue and will make a decision demonstrating the “ultimate stance” of the country on the issue.

The referendum issue will also top the agenda during his meeting with American President Donald Trump, he added.

The non-binding referendum is expected to see residents in provinces controlled by the Iraqi regional government vote on independence from Baghdad on Sept. 25.

Baghdad rejects the planned poll, saying it will adversely affect the fight against the Daesh terrorist group, which still maintains a significant presence in northern Iraq.

The Iraqi government also believes that holding the referendum would violate the terms of the country's constitution.

Turkey, too, rejects it, saying the region’s stability depends on the unity of Iraq and the maintenance of its territorial integrity.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 17 Eylül 2017, 13:31