18:56 GMT +323 September 2019
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    Turkish Cabinet Adopts Contingency Plan for Kurdish Vote to Split from Iraq

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    A Turkish deputy prime minister warned that the Turkish government had agreed a plan of action in case Kurdish leaders in Iraq press ahead with a controversial independence referendum.

    ANKARA (Sputnik) — The Turkish government has agreed a plan of action in case Kurdish leaders in Iraq press ahead with a controversial vote to create a Kurdish nation state, a Turkish deputy prime minister said on Saturday.

    "We have discussed all options in the even of the referendum taking place and if it doesn't. Turkey takes this matter seriously and will act to protect its national security interests," Bekir Bozdag told reporters.

    Iraqi Kurdistan authorities have called the vote for September 25, drawing international criticism. The UN Security Council warned Thursday the referendum might destabilize the region still threatened by radical Islamic militancy.

    Turkey, which has a significant Kurdish population, has demanded that the referendum be canceled. Bekir Bozdag said Iraqi Kurds still had time to change their mind, citing lack of support for the vote among the region’s ethnic Turkmen and Arab residents.

    Recently, US President Donald Trump and Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey rejected a plan by Iraqi Kurds to hold an independence vote and called for "intense" talks, the White House has said.

    Earlier, Kifah Sinjari, the media adviser to the president of Iraqi Kurdistan, told Sputnik that the Iraqi Kurdistan authorities are ready to postpone the independence vote if the region receives certain political guarantees from Baghdad, Washington and the United Nations.

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    independence referendum, Iraqi Kurdistan, Turkey
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