ANKARA (Sputnik) — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Thursday that he regarded the independence referendum in Iraqi Kurdistan as being illegitimate.
"The referendum has no legal grounds. The authorities of Northern Iraq have made a major mistake. Nobody has a right to turn our region into a hotspot," Erdogan said after the talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Ankara.
Erdogan added that they agreed with Putin on the necessity to preserve the territorial integrity of Iraq and Syria.
Huseyin Muftuoglu, the spokesman of the Turkish Foreign Ministry, expressed hope that the international community would support the territorial integrity of Iraq against the backdrop of the recent independence referendum held in Iraqi Kurdistan.
"Turkey has clearly and openly specified its position in regards to the referendum both before it and after it has been held. At this stage the international community should express its position as for Iraq's territorial integrity and unity without hesitation, in a prudent and clear way," Muftuoglu said in a statement obtained by Sputnik, commenting on Nauert's words.
On Monday, Kurdistan held a referendum on the independence of the region. According to the official results of Kurdistan’s Independent High Elections and Referendum Commission, the overwhelming majority, or 92.7 percent of the voters, backed independence. The referendum was opposed by Baghdad as well as a number of other countries, including Iran and Turkey, which also have Kurdish minorities.