01:13 GMT23 October 2020
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    With the September 25 referendum on the creation of an independent Kurdistan now looking imminent, Ankara fears that the vote could precipitate economic and even military sanctions by Iraq, Iran and possibly Syria, a Turkish military expert warned.

    “KRGI leader Masoud Barzani, just like his father before him, wants an independent Kurdish state. Israel is the only regional country supporting the idea, while the Iraqi government and Iran are against [it]. Turkey has never openly rejected the idea because it doesn’t want to alienate Barzani. It is still trying to persuade him to call off the vote to avoid military and economic sanctions by Iran, Iraq and Syria,” Yavuz said.

    He added that the current Turkish military drill on the Iraqi border is a warning to Barzani that if he goes ahead with the September 25 plebiscite the Turkish Army would enter Iraq and Erbil, the capital of Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region.

    “On the other hand, Ankara signals its readiness to help because it keeps the border open and oil flowing through the Kirkuk- Yumurtalık pipeline, which is earning [the Kurds] money,” Celalettin Yavuz told Sputnik Turkey.

    This means that while hating to break off times with Barzani, Turkey is perfectly aware of the threat an independent Kurdish state would pose to its national security.

    “I also believe that the regional powers, including Turkey, have been late in their attempts to persuade the KRGI leaders to reconsider. The genie is out of the bottle now and it looks like the referendum will go ahead as planned,” he concluded.

    In June, Masoud Barzani set September 25 as the date for the independence referendum.

    Baghdad has repeatedly criticized the move, and the Iraqi Parliament has already voted against the plebiscite.

    In 2005, the Iraqi Constitution recognized Kurdistan as an autonomous region that was run by the Kurdistan Regional Government. Since then, Kurdistan's authorities have repeatedly raised the issue of regional independence.


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