First Published: 2017-09-21

Turkey, Iran and Iraq make joint threat against Kurd vote
FMs hold trilateral meeting on UN sidelines, warn of ‘counter-measures’ against Iraqi Kurdish independence referendum.
Middle East Online

Turkish leader speaks to General Assembly

NEW YORK CITY - Turkey, Iran and Iraq on Thursday urged Iraq's Kurdistan region to abandon a planned referendum on independence, threatening unspecified "counter-measures" if it goes ahead with the vote.

The foreign ministers of Turkey, Iran and Iraq held a rare trilateral meeting Wednesday in New York on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, days ahead of the non-binding September 25 referendum.

Ankara and Tehran fear independence for the Kurds of northern Iraq would embolden their own Kurdish minorities, and Baghdad has bitterly opposed the plebiscite.

The three states reaffirmed their commitment to Iraq's territorial integrity and emphasised their "unequivocal opposition to the referendum," in a joint statement released by the Turkish foreign ministry.

They also "agreed in this regard to consider taking counter-measures in coordination," according to the statement, which did not provide any details.

The ministers called the planned vote "unconstitutional", saying it ran the risk of provoking new conflicts in the region, and would "not be beneficial" for the Kurds of Iraq.

They also said the referendum would put Iraq's hard-earned gains against Islamic State jihadists "under great risk".

The United States also opposes the referendum, warning that it may not be able to help Iraq's Kurds negotiate a better deal with Baghdad if they go ahead with the vote.

Turkey has its own long-running conflict with separatists among its sizable Kurdish minority, and has vowed to quash any Kurdish state from emerging in war-torn Syria.

In New York, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday demanded that Iraqi Kurds call off the referendum, while hinting at consequences if they go ahead.

"Steps such as demands for independence that can cause new crises and conflicts in the region must be avoided," Erdogan told the UN General Assembly.

With conspicuous timing, Turkey on Monday launched a military drill involving 100 vehicles including tanks on the Iraqi border, which was continuing for a fourth day according to Turkish media reports.

 

Moscow seeks to boost its influence in Kurdistan through oil

Tillerson does not expect Gulf crisis to be resolved soon

35 Egyptian police killed in Islamist ambush

How Raqa recapture affects complex Syrian war

Ancient Turkish town set to vanish forever under floodwaters

Morocco recalls Algeria envoy over 'hashish money' jibe

Ceremony marks 75 years since WWII Battle of El Alamein

Somalia attack death toll rises to 358

Long road ahead for families of jailed Morocco protesters

Israel hits Syrian artillery after Golan fire

Germany advances Israel submarine deal after corruption holdup

Bashir Gemayel's killer convicted, 35 years later

SDF hails 'historic victory' against IS in Raqa

Hamas delegation visits Iran

Turkish court orders release of teacher on hunger strike

Yemen rebel youth minister urges children to join war

Iran's Guards show no intention of curbing activities in Mideast

EU will cut some money for Turkey as ties sour

Iraqi workers return to oil fields retaken from Kurds

Kurdish disarray shows resurgence of Iraq's army

Iranian military chief visits frontline near Syria's Aleppo

Iraq army takes last Kurd-held area of Kirkuk province

Turkey issues arrest warrants for 110 people over Gulen links

Lebanon approves first budget since 2005

Hamas calls US unity comments ‘blatant interference’

OPEC chief pleased with oil market rebalancing

Turkish police detain leading civil society figure

G7, tech giants meet to tackle terror online

Iraq’s Kurdish regional government open to Baghdad talks

Tensions flare among Yemen's rebels

Baghdad court issues arrest warrant for Iraqi Kurd VP

Erdogan, Nigerian counterpart to ramp up cooperation

Russian medics operate on Yemen's Saleh despite embargo

Baghdad condemns oil deal between Russia’s Rosneft, Kurds

Power shifts again in Iraq's multi-ethnic Kirkuk

Syrian general accused of journalist deaths killed in Deir Ezzor

Raqa liberators ready for civilian handover, on to next battle

Revolutionary Guards say Iranian missile program will continue

Erdogan calls on three major mayors to resign

ICC investigating several war crimes in Mali

Erdogan says may shut Iraqi border at any moment

Tunisian couple jailed for 'public indecency' over car kiss

Next round of Syria talks at end October

Gazans hope Palestinian reconciliation ends their woes

PSG's Khelaifi to be quizzed in Swiss World Cup probe