Turkey on Wednesday warned that a plan by the leadership in Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region to hold a referendum on independence next month could lead to civil war, in Ankara’s strongest warning yet against the poll.
“In that country (Iraq), which has been through so many problems, a referendum on independence can make the situation even worse,” Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told the state TRT Haber broadcaster.
“God forbid, it could even bring it to civil war.”
Turkey has a substantial Kurdish minority which is sometimes estimated as making up around a quarter of its total population of just under 80 million.
Ankara has in recent years forged strong ties with the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in northern Iraq but is extremely wary of any move towards independence by the region.
Turkish security forces in the southeast of the country are still fighting the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which has waged a deadly three-decade insurgency.