Turkey Says Iraqi Kurd Vote 'Illegitimate'إقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
Turkey on Friday slammed a planned independence referendum in Iraq's Kurdistan region next week as "illegitimate", indicating that Ankara was prepared to retaliate if it went ahead.
"The illegitimate and unacceptable nature of the referendum ... has been specified once again," the National Security Council (MGK) said after a meeting chaired by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
It warned that Ankara was prepared to use its "rights" in line with international agreements.
Despite opposition from Turkey, Iran and the United States, the Kurdistan Regional Government's leaders have said they will hold the non-binding independence vote on September 25.
Ankara has previously warned against the move, saying it could risk "civil war" and will "have a cost" if it goes ahead.
However despite repeatedly warning of reprisals, Turkey has never made clear what concrete action it may take against the regional government.
The MGK said the plan was a "grave mistake" and "a step that directly threatens Turkey's national security" and called on Iraqi Kurdish leaders to scrap it.
"If the referendum takes place despite all our objections, Turkey reserves its rights based on bilateral and international agreements," it warned without elaborating.
Iraqi Kurdish leader Massud Barzani insisted Friday that the referendum will go ahead.
Despite enjoying strong ties with the regional Kurdish government in northern Iraq in recent years, Turkey fears the vote could stoke separatist aspirations among its own sizable Kurdish minority.
The MGK convened five days earlier than scheduled over the referendum move, after Erdogan returned from the United States where he attended the annual U.N. General Assembly meetings.