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Turkey warns Kurdistan will pay a 'price' if referendum goes ahead

Turkey warns Kurdistan will pay a 'price' if referendum goes ahead”

The EU also declared its support for the territorial integrity of Iraq while the USA and Kurdish opposition Goran Movement demanded the postponement of the referendum.

On June 7, the Kurdish President Masoud Barzani announced his intention to hold a referendum on the independence of the Kurdish region from Iraq on September 25.

Turkey's foreign ministry, in a statement on Thursday, said: "We find the (Iraqi Kurdish) leadership's insistent stance regarding the referendum and its increasingly emotional statements worrying".

This month's scheduled referendum will see residents of northern Iraq's Kurdish region vote on whether or not to declare independence from the Iraqi state, Anadolu Agency reported.

The premier's remarks came after Iraqi House of Representatives voted to reject a poll on Kurdish regional independence. In 2005, Iraq's Constitution recognized Kurdistan as an autonomous region run by the Kurdistan Regional Government.

"Barzani's referendum decision is a historic mistake".

Ashwaq al-Jaff, Iraqi parliament member from the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), vowed that the referendum would go ahead despite the vote. The Turkish government, which has recently restored diplomatic ties with Israel following years of estrangement, "is concerned that sovereignty for Iraqi Kurds would encourage its own Kurdish insurgents", says the news agency, while the USA believes a Kurdish vote "could destabilize the region and undercut the war on extremism".

The Iraqi parliament has also voted to reject the independence referendum of the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region slated for September 25, a parliament source said.

The PKK, also blacklisted in the West, has fought the Turkish government for more than three decades; an insurgency that Ankara says is mostly originated from mountainous regions in northern Iraq.

Israel maintains discreet military, intelligence and business relations with the Kurds since the 1960s, looking at the minority ethnic group - whose indigenous peoples are divided between Iraq, Turkey, Syria and Iran - as a buffer against the common Arab enemies.



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