08:41 GMT +325 June 2019
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    Iraqi Kurdish youths wave a national flag as they stand above a giant flag of Kurdistan during celebrations of Flag Day on December 17, 2015

    Ankara Urges Kurdistan to Reconsider Independence Referendum Plans

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    Turkey's deputy prime minister said such referendums "boost instability".

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Iraqi Kurdistan’s government needs to reconsider their decision to hold an independence vote in 2017, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus said on Monday.

    "We know that holding such referendums will only boost instability," Kurtulmus said, as cited by the Daily Sabah newspaper, adding that Turkey supports preservation of Iraq’s territorial integrity.

    Earlier in June, President of the Iraqi Kurdistan Region Masoud Barzani set September 25 as the date for an independence referendum. The referendum will be held throughout Iraqi Kurdistan, as well as territories of the Nineveh, Kirkuk, Saladin and Diyala provinces claimed by both Iraqi Kurdistan and Iraq.

    The Kurds, making up about 20 percent of the Iraqi population, have been seeking self-governance for decades. In 2005, Iraq’s Constitution recognized Kurdistan as an autonomous region, run by the Kurdistan Regional Government, therefore making Iraqi Kurdistan the only autonomous region of the country.


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