Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Sunday said an independence referendum in the Kurdish region of Iraq will be on the table during his visit to Tehran on Wednesday, underlining that he will return with a roadmap for the crisis, the Cumhuriyet daily reported.
“My visit to Iran will be a High Level Strategic Cooperation Council meeting. We will also discuss the northern Iraq issue. We will return with a serious roadmap,” Erdoğan told reporters at the opening reception of the new legislative year of the Turkish Parliament.
Despite the fact that Iraq’s neighbors and allies, including Turkey and the US, opposed the referendum, the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) held it on Sept. 25.
The results show that over 92 percent of a 3-million-strong electorate voted in favor of separation from Baghdad and the formation of an independent Kurdistan state.
Continuing his threats towards the Kurdish administration in northern Iraq, Erdoğan said: “What am I saying? We could appear there [in Iraqi Kurdistan] one night. All our forces are on the border in Silopi. Aren’t they doing all sorts of maneuvers? What does that mean? [It means] we are ready.”
Erdoğan on Saturday said the KRG would pay a price for holding a referendum despite Turkey’s objections.
Ahead of Erdoğan’s visit, Turkish Chief of General Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar on Sunday evening traveled to Tehran to meet with his Iranian counterpart, Maj. Gen. Mohammad Bagheri, who visited Turkey last month accompanied by a high-ranking political-military delegation.
While Turkey and Iraq have launched joint military maneuvers in Turkey’s border areas with the Kurdish region in Iraq, Iran declared that it had closed its border gates and halted air traffic to and from Iraq’s Kurdistan region.