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Turkey warns Iraqi Kurdish referendum will ‘have a cost’

In this Thursday, Aug. 24, 2017 photo, a man walks past a campaign poster printed on a Kurdish flag urging people to vote yes in the upcoming poll on independence from Iraq, Irbil, Iraq. Despite calls from Baghdad and the United States to postpone the vote, Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdish region is pressing ahead with plans to hold a referendum on independence September 25. Some officials within Iraq’s Kurdistan Regional Government describe the vote as a step in pursuit of self-determination, but the lead up to the planned referendum has highlighted the region’s lingering divisions and economic deficiencies.(AP)
ANKARA: Turkey on Thursday warned Iraqi Kurdish leaders that a planned independence referendum would “have a cost” as Ankara welcomed a vote by Iraq’s parliament against the poll.
The non-binding referendum set for September 25 has faced strong opposition from Turkey as well as from Iran, which fear it will stoke separatist aspirations among their own sizeable Kurdish minorities.
Iraq’s parliament on Tuesday voted down the plan in a session which prompted a walkout by Kurdish lawmakers.
The Turkish foreign ministry warned in a statement that the Iraqi Kurdish leaders’ call for a referendum was “worrying.”
The Iraqi Kurdish government’s “insistence on the referendum despite all friendly advice will definitely have a cost,” the ministry said, urging Irbil to return from their “erroneous approach.”
The ministry said it welcomed the decision made by the Iraqi parliament, adding that their vote was a “clear indicator of importance attached to Iraq’s political unity and territorial integrity.”