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Turkish FM to tell Iraqi Kurds independence vote wrong

BAGHDAD, IRAQ - AUGUST 23: Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu (L) and Iraqi President Fuad Masum (R) shake hands during their meeting in Baghdad, Iraq on August 23, 2017. AFP

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said on Wednesday he will tell Iraqi Kurdish officials that their decision to hold an independence referendum is wrong.

Talking to reporters in Baghdad before leaving for Arbil as part of his visit to Iraq, Çavuşoğlu said, “Our expectation from Arbil (Irbil) is clear, that is the cancellation of the referendum, as the interests and future of the Kurds lies in a united Iraq,” Reuters reported.

He said he would tell the Iraq Kurdish leaders “once more” that the referendum decision was wrong when he visits Arbil later on Wednesday.

Iraq Kurdistan Regional Government (IKRG) President Massoud Barzani recently announced that the vote on whether to secede from Iraq would be held on Sept. 25.

Turkey – which has a large Kurdish population and is battling terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) — is strongly opposed to an independent Kurdish state.

A delegation representing Iraq’s ruling Shi’ite coalition may meet with Kurdish politicians again next week to try to convince them to delay or cancel the referendum, a negotiator told Reuters on Monday evening.

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