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Turkey issues travel warning to KRG provinces in Iraq

President of Iraqi Kurdish Regional Government (IKRG) Masoud Barzani cast his vote in the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) controversial referendum at a polling station on September 25, 2017 in Erbil, Iraq. The non-binding referendum is taking place in areas under the control of the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) in northern Iraq. According to data released by the KRG Independent High Electoral Commission, over 5 million people are expected to vote in the referendum. Yunus Keles / Anadolu Agency

The Turkish Foreign Ministry on Monday issued a travel warning to the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) provinces of Arbil, Dohuk and Sulaymaniyah, extending a previous travel warning to Iraq.

The warning came following the KRG’s decision to hold an independence referendum on Monday despite opposition from the international community and Turkey.

The statement said the instability that will be caused by the referendum could lead some radical groups and terrorists to target Turkey’s interests and Turkish citizens in Iraq and in KRG provinces.

The ministry strongly advised Turkish citizens in the Iraqi Kurdish provinces to leave as quickly as possible due to potential conflicts, security problems and instability in the wake of the referendum.

The ministry earlier described the independence referendum as “null” and “void” and said that Turkey does not recognize the referendum, which lacks international legitimacy.

“We stress one more time that we will take every measure available under international law and from the authority granted by the Grand National Assembly of Turkey in the event that some radical elements and terrorists who may seek to exploit the circumstances that will emerge following the referendum attempt to carry out acts that target our national security,” added the ministry.

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