Turkish foreign ministry says Turkey's position is clear on illegitimate referendum in northern Iraq
Turkey has adopted an "explicit and clear attitude" before and after the illegitimate referendum held by northern Iraq's Kurdish Regional Government (KRG), the Foreign Ministry said late Thursday in response to recent remarks by the U.S. on the issue.
"This attitude is based on the principle that favors the peace and prosperity of the Iraqi people, upholds international law and the Iraqi Constitution, and prioritizes the protection of regional peace and stability," said Ministry spokesman Huseyin Muftuoglu in a written statement.
"At this stage, the international society should act in a coherent, unequivocal and unambiguous manner with regard to the preservation of the political unity and territorial integrity of Iraq," he added.
Muftuoglu's remarks were in response to the U.S. State Department spokeswoman, who was asked Tuesday about Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan saying in the wake of the illegitimate referendum that Turkey could easily make the KRG’s revenues dry up, and if Turkish trucks did not go to the KRG, they would not be able to get food or clothes.
Heather Nauert said: "That certainly sounds like a threat on the part of President Erdogan. But I’m not going to comment on what he’s had to say."
Monday's illegitimate referendum saw Iraqis in KRG-controlled areas -- and in a handful of territories disputed between Erbil and Baghdad, including ethnically mixed Kirkuk and Mosul -- vote on whether or not to declare independence from Iraq's central government.
Official preliminary results revealed that 93 percent of voters backed Kurdish independence, although the vote was widely criticized by the international community.
Along with Iraq’s central government, Turkey, the U.S., Iran, and the UN had spoken out against Monday’s illegitimate poll, warning it would distract from the ongoing fight against Daesh and further destabilize the region.