Kurdish referendum matter of Turkey's national security: PM Yildirim

Reuters News
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Posted: Sep 22, 2017 6:07 AM

ISTANBUL (Reuters) - A planned independence referendum in Kurdish northern Iraq is a matter of national security for Turkey and Ankara will never accept a change of status in Iraq or Syria, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said on Friday.

"An action that will change the status in Syria and Iraq is an unacceptable result for Turkey, and we will do what is necessary," Yildirim said, in comments carried live on television.

President Tayyip Erdogan has threatened to impose sanctions against Kurdish northern Iraq, saying the government would consider counter-measures against the vote at a cabinet meeting later on Friday.

Erdogan will chair a meeting of Turkey's national security council at 3 p.m. (1200 GMT), followed by a cabinet meeting at 6 p.m. (1500 GMT). The parliament will also convene for an extraordinary meeting on Saturday in order to discuss policy on Iraq.

Turkey, home to the largest Kurdish population in the region, has warned that any breakup of neighboring Iraq or Syria could lead to a global conflict.

The referendum is planned for Sept. 25.

On Monday, the Turkish army launched a highly visible military drill near the Habur border crossing, which military sources said was due to last until Sept. 26, a day after the planned referendum.

(Reporting by Tuvan Gumrukcu and Dirimcan Barut; Writing by Ece Toksabay; Editing by David Dolan)