September 25, 2017 / 5:30 AM / in 9 months

Turkey vows to take 'all measures' if Iraqi Kurdish referendum endangers security

ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Turkey will take “all measures” under international law if the Iraqi Kurdish independence referendum being held on Monday generates threats to Turkey’s national security, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said.

The ministry issued the statement as voting started in northern Iraq in a referendum organized by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), despite regional and international fears that it will fuel instability and violence across the Middle East.

Turkey’s foreign ministry said it did not recognize the referendum and would view its outcome as null and void, adding that the KRG was threatening the peace and stability of Iraq and the whole region.

It warned of the possibility of “radical elements and terrorists” engaging in acts which target national security in the aftermath of the referendum.

“We stress again that we will take all measures arising from international law and the Turkish parliament’s authority in the face of every kind of threat to our national security in Iraq generally,” the ministry said.

In a separate travel warning, the ministry said it strongly recommended that Turkish citizens in the Iraqi Kurdish provinces of Dohuk, Erbil and Sulaimaniya should leave as soon as possible if they are not obliged to stay.

Writing by Daren Butler; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore

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