PM Yıldırım calls KRG’s referendum decision ‘irresponsible’

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Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım on Friday criticized the Kurdish Regional Government’s (KRG) decision to hold a referendum in Iraq’s autonomous northern region, calling it an “irresponsible decision.”

The KRG announced on Wednesday that it would vote on Sept. 25 on whether to split from the rest of Iraq and form an independent nation.

In a Twitter message on Wednesday, KRG leader Massoud Barzani said: “I am pleased to announce that the date for the independence referendum has been set for Monday, Sept. 25, 2017.”

“We want the territorial unity of Iraq. We want all Iraqis to live together in one state. We have enough problems in the region. We do not think it is right to create any new problems in the area. We think this is a decision made irresponsibly,” Yıldırım told reporters in Ankara in response to a question concerning the KRG’s decision.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry earlier on Friday also criticized the KRG’s decision to hold a referendum on independence.

“We believe that the announcement by the [Iraqi Kurdish region] to hold an independence referendum on September 25 … will constitute a grave mistake,” said the ministry in a statement.

The ministry said Iraq’s territorial integrity was a “precondition” for lasting stability for the country and called on Iraqi Kurds to be part of efforts to strengthen Iraq’s unity.

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