During a news conference in Baghdad, Mevlut Cavusoglu called for the cancellation of a referendum on Iraqi Kurdish independence "as the interests and future of the Kurds lies in a united Iraq.”

Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu meets with Iraqi Kurdish president Massoud Barzani in Erbil, Iraq on August 23, 2017
Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu meets with Iraqi Kurdish president Massoud Barzani in Erbil, Iraq on August 23, 2017

Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu called on the Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) to cancel an independence referendum scheduled to be held next month.

The semi-autonomous Kurdish authorities say the vote is necessary because they've suffered years of oppression and neglect at the hands of the Iraqi government. 

"Our expectation from Erbil is clear: That is the cancellation of the referendum as the interests and future of the Kurds lies in a united Iraq," Cavusoglu told a news conference in Baghdad.

TRT World's Andrew Hopkins has this report.

Turkey opposes the idea of Iraqi Kurdish independence, fearing separatism could spread to their own Kurdish populations.

Baghdad  also rejects the planned poll, saying it could adversely affect the ongoing fight against Daesh, which despite a string of recent defeats still maintains a significant presence in Iraq.

During his visit, Cavusoglu also discussed the presence of the Turkish troops in the Bashiqa Camp outside the city of Mosul, where it is acting as a part of the international efforts against Daesh.

Ankara and Baghdad will together decide on “the function, strategy and future of the Bashiqa Camp,” Cavusoglu said.

Turkey has a longstanding military training mission at Bashiqa, where Turkish soldiers have trained both Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga fighters and local tribal volunteers in combat techniques.

Source: TRT World