Iraq, Turkey, Iran to coordinate countermeasures to Kurdistan referendum

Former US Diplomat: Efforts to Derail Kurdish Referendum Won't Work

Speaking to reporters outside his hotel, Erdogan said Turkey's national security council and cabinet would discuss potential sanctions on northern Iraq when they meet on Friday.

The Kurdish official said that the reports quoted Pavel Talabani, the son of former President Jalal Talabani, who was expressing his personal opinion.

Turkey made a direct appeal to the president of the Iraqi Kurdish region on Friday, urging him to cancel an independence referendum planned for Monday and saying that Ankara viewed the vote as illegal and unacceptable.

However, Kurdish officials say they will use it to pressure the Iraqi government in Baghdad to come to the negotiating table and formalize their independence bid.

Iraq's neighbours including Turkey fear the vote will fuel unrest among their own Kurdish populations and Western allies said it could detract from the fight against so-called Islamic State. Military sources said the drill was due to last until 26 September, a day after the planned referendum.

"It is not possible for us to accept the postponing of the referendum either".

Hoshiyar Zebari, a top adviser to Kurdish leader Massoud Barzani, told Reuters on Saturday that a delegation has been dispatched to Baghdad to conduct a dialogue with the Iraqi government. Among other things, the referendum could jeopardize Kurdish trade relations in the region.

In reaction to the Kurdish military assertiveness, Turkey sent its troops a year ago into northern Syria, undermining a contiguous Kurdish-held east-to-west territory.

Iraq's central government previously threatened to intervene militarily if the vote leads to violence.

The comments follow a warning from the United Nations Security Council on Thursday that the vote could have a "potentially destabilizing" impact on the region.

Older generations of Iraq's Kurds suffered during Saddam Hussein's 1980s Anfal campaign, and want to see their struggle for national independence come to fruition.

Kurdish leaders have also stressed that a "yes" vote will not trigger an automatic declaration of independence, but rather strengthen their hand in lengthy negotiations on secession with Baghdad. More than 40,000 people have been killed in the conflict.

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