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    Iraqi Kurds fly Kurdish flags during an event to urge people to vote in the upcoming independence referendum in Arbil, the capital of the autonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq, on September 16, 2017

    Ankara to Take Measures in Case of Security Threats Amid Kurdish Referendum

    © AFP 2019 / SAFIN HAMED
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    In case the internal security is threatened, Ankara will take any measures to stabilize the situation during the independence referendum in Iraqi Kurdistan, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said Monday.

    ANKARA (Sputnik) — Turkey will take every measure within international law and the authority granted by the country's parliament in case of any national security threats provoked by the independence referendum in Iraqi Kurdistan, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said Monday.

    "We will take every measure that emanates from the international law and from the authority granted by the Grand National Assembly of Turkey, in the event that some radical elements and terrorists, which may seek to exploit the circumstances that will emerge following the referendum, attempt to carry out acts that target our national security," the statement said.

    On Monday, the Iraqi autonomous region of Kurdistan is holding a referendum on independence from Baghdad. Since the official announcement was made by Iraqi Kurdistan’s President Masoud Barzani, the move has been widely criticized by Iraqi authorities as well as by the international community. Iran pledged to shut down all the border crossings with Iraqi Kurdistan after the independence vote, while Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan threatened to impose sanctions against the region in the event the independence referendum takes place.

    "We are dismayed by this attempt, which is far from commonsense, undertaken by the KRG [Kurdistan Regional Government] leadership who insisted on holding the referendum despite all the warnings of Turkey and of the international community and thereby endangered the peace and stability not only of Iraq, but also that of the region," the ministry said.

    Moreover, Ankara received a note from Baghdad calling to close the border and stop air links with Iraqi Kurdistan, where an independence referendum is being held, the necessary measures will be taken, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said Monday.

    "Today we received a note from Iraq on the closure of the checkpoint on the Turkish-Iraqi border and the termination of air links with Northern Iraq. Our relevant departments are now studying this note and without losing time we will take the necessary steps in this direction," Yildirim said.

    A referendum on independence is taking place in Iraqi Kurdistan on Monday. Baghdad and many countries categorically oppose the referendum. Shortly before, Iran and Turkey began exercises near the borders of Iraqi Kurdistan, in addition, Iran closed its sky for air links with the autonomy. Official Baghdad demanded from foreign powers to transfer under its control all border crossings of Kurdistan and conduct all oil deals only with Baghdad.

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    referendum, security, Turkish foreign ministry, Iraqi Kurdistan, Turkey
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