September 16, 2017 / 6:56 PM / 3 months ago

Turkey says northern Iraqi referendum an issue of national security

ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said on Saturday that the planned independence referendum in northern Iraq is an issue of national security, and Turkey will take any necessary steps.

Kurdish people attend a rally to show their support for the upcoming September 25th independence referendum in Duhuk, Iraq September 16, 2017. REUTERS/Ari Jalal

On Friday, Iraqi Kurdish leader Massoud Barzani said the vote would not be delayed, despite requests from the United States and other Western powers worried that tensions between Baghdad and Erbil would distract from the war on Islamic State militants who continue to occupy parts of Iraq and Syria.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said in an interview on Friday that Barzani’s decision not to postpone the referendum was “very wrong”.

Reporting by Tuvan Gumrukcu; Editing by Robin Pomeroy

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