The Kurdish Regional Government's (KRG) planned referendum in northern Iraq is illegitimate and unacceptable, Turkey's top security body, the National Security Council (MGK) said on Friday.
A statement released after the closed MGK meeting, which held under the presidency of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and lasted over three hours, said Turkey reserves its rights stemming from bilateral and international agreements if the referendum is held despite all warnings, signaling an extension of military mandate in Iraq.
The statement said that the KRG's insistence on holding the vote despite warnings by Turkey, the Iraqi government and the United Nations will create serious consequences in the region.
Ankara renewed its call for KRG to cancel the referendum "when there is still time", adding that Turkey is ready to support mediating between KRG and the Iraqi central government to resolve disagreements on a constitutional basis.
Amid heated discussions concerning the independence referendum by the Iraqi Kurdish Regional Government (KRG), which has failed to attain international support and which is opposed by Turkey, Iraq, Iran, the U.S. and the European Union, the economic aspect of the post-referendum period also occupies the agenda of the executive branch.
Turkish Parliament will convene on Saturday, Sept. 23 for an extraordinary session to discuss the extension of the military mandate for Iraq and Syria. Parliament is expected to extend the mandate from Oct. 30 to Oct. 30, 2018, as Turkey's three main parties previously voiced their support for the extension.7
The possibility of a military operation in Iraq, which is expected to be discussed during the meeting, has surfaced since the Turkish army conducted a drill near the Iraqi border. If the KRG does not bow out under mounting pressures, the possibility of a military response is relatively high.
Furthermore, Turkey has deployed fully equipped commando units, as part of military reinforcements, along its southern border with Syria. Turkish military vehicles with fully equipped commandos from multiple divisions traveled to the Syrian border on Wednesday, near the southern province of Hatay's Reyhanlı district.