22:59 GMT +321 July 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 Calls on Iraqi Kurdistan to Give Up Referendum Initiative

    © AFP 2019 / SAFIN HAMED
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    The Kurdish regional government in the Iraqi city of Erbil should give up the idea of holding the independence referendum, since it would not solve the existing problems, Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said Thursday.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The spokesman pointed out that the referendum would not solve the problems of Iraqi Kurdistan or other Iraqi regions and its legitimacy would always be questioned, as there is a Turkmen minority in this region, which would boycott the referendum.

    "Our call is to give it up… It is important to think about it and make the right decision," Kalin said as quoted by the Rudaw broadcaster.

    Iraqi Kurdistan is set to hold an independence referendum on September 25. Both Iran and Turkey oppose the vote, claiming that independence of the region may exacerbate the conflict in the Middle East.

    The Kurds are a Middle Eastern ethnic group with the population of 30-35 million living mainly in Iran, Iraq, Syria and Turkey. The ethnic group is striving to create their own independent state.

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