Turkish President warns against Kurdish independence referendum

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has warned that the independence referendum planned by the government of the semi-autonomous Kurdish region in northern Iraq could spark fresh conflicts in the region.

Erdogan was speaking during the United Nations General Assembly in New York yesterday.

He called on the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) to suspend its referendum for independence slated for next week.

“New crises in the region, such as bids for independence, could spark new conflicts and must therefore be avoided at all costs. We urge Iraq’s Kurdish Regional Government to abort the steps they have taken in that direction,” Erdogan told the United Nations General Assembly.

Baghdad and the regional government need to achieve compromises “on the basis of territorial integrity and the realisation of the ideals to build a common future,” Erdogan said.

Residents in provinces controlled by the KRG will vote September 25 on independence from Baghdad.

The Iraqi government is opposed to the poll, claiming it will affect the war against Daesh, cause instability and violate the Iraqi Constitution.

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Turkey, the US, Iran and the UN have all backed Baghdad in speaking out against the referendum planned for the Kurdish-controlled areas of northern Iraq, saying the vote would distract from operations against Daesh and lead to greater instability in the region.

Syrian crisis

Meanwhile, Erdogan also demanded “international cooperation” in order to resolve the Syrian crisis.

“Unfortunately, the international community has all left Syria alone. The only way to find a solution to the crisis is to cooperate under UN’s roof,” he said.

President Erdogan also called on international organisations “which put all the burden of the 3.2 million people on Turkey’s shoulders, to fulfill the promises they have made.”

“Turkey has spent $30 billion for Syrian refugees but we did not receive enough support from the United Nations and the European Union,” Erdogan added.

Rohingya violence

And the Turkish President said crimes committed against the Rohingya would put a ‘dark stain’ in history. ” The international community has failed in Rohingya, as they did in Syria,” he said.

“These developments have proven our call right to restructure the United Nations Security Council, as we summarised it, World is bigger than 5,” he said criticising the structure of the body, which has five permanent members who basically decide policies.

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