Syria, Iraq Issues Directly Affect Turkey: Erdogan

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Tuesday one cannot separate the incidents taking place in Syria and Iraq from Turkey since what happens in the neighboring countries makes an impact domestically.

Speaking to his Justice and Development (AK) Party’s parliamentary group in capital Ankara, Erdogan said: “Any incident taking place in Syria and Iraq is not independent from us, they are linked directly to our domestic affairs.”

He again criticized the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG)’s illegitimate referendum in northern Iraq that was recently held on Sep. 25.

“The referendum crisis in northern Iraq is a new attempt to strike the heart of our region with a dagger.

“We hope the northern Iraq administration comes to its senses soon,” Erdogan said and urged the KRG President Masoud Barzani to cancel the referendum.

The illegitimate Sept. 25 referendum saw Iraqis in KRG-controlled areas — and in a handful of territories disputed between Erbil and Baghdad, including historical Turkmen city of Kirkuk and Mosul — vote on whether to declare independence from Iraq’s central government.

“Nobody can insult a nation who grew up with the songs of Kirkuk.”

Erdogan said sanctions on northern Iraq would increase in the near future.

“We have made every effort to resolve the crisis in the region with facility, wisdom and compromise, and we will [continue our efforts]. For now, we are just content with embargoes in certain fields.”

“If they do not come to their senses, we will not hesitate to take further steps in accordance with the developments,” the president said.

According to preliminary poll figures released by the KRG, almost 93 percent of voters had cast ballots in favor of independence from Baghdad.




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