Turkey's foreign minister met Iraqi officials in Baghdad on his way to Erbil to meet with Masoud Barzani, president of the Kurdish Regional Government, in a bid to dissuade them from holding an independence referendum.

BAGHDAD, IRAQ - AUGUST 23: Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu (L) meets and his Iraqi counterpart Ibrahim al-Jaafari (R) hold a joint press conference after their meeting at the official resident in Baghdad, Iraq on August 23, 2017.
BAGHDAD, IRAQ - AUGUST 23: Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu (L) meets and his Iraqi counterpart Ibrahim al-Jaafari (R) hold a joint press conference after their meeting at the official resident in Baghdad, Iraq on August 23, 2017. (AA)

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on Wednesday said that Ankara expects the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) to cancel an independence referendum vote for Iraq's northern city of Erbil.

Majority of Iraq's northern region is fully under KRG rule, with Erbil as its de facto capital.

Cavusoglu was speaking at a joint press conference with his Iraqi counterpart Ibrahim al Jaafari in Baghdad.

“Our expectation from Erbil is quite plain and clear: this referendum decision should be cancelled,” Cavusoglu told reporters alongside his Iraqi counterpart.

On September 25, residents of northern Iraq’s Kurdish region will take part in a popular referendum on whether or not to declare formal independence from Iraq.

Baghdad 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.

Cavusoglu also reiterated that Turkey supports Iraq's territorial integrity and both countries must work together to defeat Daesh and the PKK terrorist organisation as both pose a clear and present danger to Iraq's security.

"We must work together to ensure that the PKK is defeated in Iraq."

"We're here today to reiterate our support for Iraq's political integrity and sovereignty," Cavusoglu said, adding that Ankara hopes Erbil and Baghdad will solve all issues through mutual understanding and dialogue.

TRT World's Andrew Hopkins reports from Erbil in northern Iraq.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies