13:39 GMT02 December 2020
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    Turkey does not recognize Iraqi Kurdistan as an independent state, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said Friday, reiterating Ankara's call on the Kurds to refrain from holding an independence referendum in late September.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) In June, the authorities of Iraqi Kurdistan announced that they would hold the independence referendum on September 25. On August 20, Iraqi Kurdistan's President Masoud Barzani said that postponing the vote would be out of the question.

    "We do not recognize them [Iraqi Kurdistan] as a state. We are talking about a part of Iraq that has a regional administration," Yildirim said as quoted by the Yeni Safak newspaper.

    The Turkish prime minister stressed that the independence referendum would only "spark new problems without solving any existing ones," and therefore, should be canceled.

    On Wednesday, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Ankara expected Iraqi Kurdistan to refrain from holding the independence vote.

    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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    Tags:
    independence referendum, Binali Yildirim, Iraqi Kurdistan, Turkey
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