Turkey says it will reserve its rights stemming from bilateral and international agreements if the KRG holds its planned independence referendum despite all warnings, signaling an extension of the military mandate in Iraq.

The closed National Security Council meeting, which was held under the presidency of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and lasted over three hours.
The closed National Security Council meeting, which was held under the presidency of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and lasted over three hours. ( AA )

Turkey's National Security Council warned the autonomous Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) in northern Iraq on Friday against holding a referendum on independence, saying such a move would create grave results.  

In a statement released following a meeting at the presidential complex in capital Ankara, the council said that Turkey reserves all options arising from bilateral and international agreements if the referendum is held on September 25.  

''It is strongly emphasized that this attempted Kurdish referendum is a grave mistake which directly threatens the security of Turkey and the peace, security and stability of the region as well as Iraq's territorial unity and territorial integrity,” the statement said.

The council called on the KRG to cancel the referendum and search for solutions in line with Iraq’s constitution.  

Turkey is ready to mediate between Iraq's central government and the Kurdish regional administration to resolve disputes on constitutional basis and through dialogue, the statement added.  

The possibility of a military operation in Iraq has surfaced since the Turkish army conducted a drill near the Iraqi border.
The possibility of a military operation in Iraq has surfaced since the Turkish army conducted a drill near the Iraqi border. ( Reuters )

The non-binding referendum will see Iraqis in KRG-controlled areas - and in a handful of territories disputed between Erbil and Baghdad - vote on whether or not to declare full independence from Iraq.  

Along with Baghdad, Turkey, the US, Iran and the UN have all spoken out against the poll, saying it will only distract from the ongoing fight against Daesh and further destabilize the region.  

Iraq's central government has even threatened to intervene militarily in the event that the vote leads to violence.  

The KRG's President Masoud Barzani, for his part, has said that a “Yes” vote would not result in an automatic declaration of independence but would simply lead to further negotiations with Baghdad.

TRT World's Hasan Abdullah has updates from Ankara.

Source: AA