Turkish Cabinet Adopts Contingency Plan for Kurdish Vote to Split from Iraq

A memorial to killed Peshmerga in Nineveh province

Earlier, Turkey's National Security called the referendum "illegal", stating that Ankara will use its rights arising from both global and bilateral documents.

Turkey said on Friday the vote in Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdish region would threaten security and force Ankara to slap sanctions on a neighbour and trading partner, although it did not specify what measures it might take.

The referendum "could detract from efforts to ensure the safe, voluntary return of over three million refugees and internally displaced persons", the 15-member body added.

During the annual coordination meeting of the foreign ministers of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation member states, held on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in NY, he said that Iran supports Iraq's territorial integrity, sovereignty and national unity.

The Security Council stressed its respect for the sovereignty, territorial integrity and unity of Iraq.

Canikli said the vote demonstrated "an abdication of reason" and Turkey viewed any referendum like this as "null and void".

But Hoshyar Zebari, a senior advisor to Barzani, struck a defiant tone, telling Reuters: "This is the last five metres of the final sprint and we will be standing our ground". US State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said the price would be high "for all Iraqis, including Kurds". "You can't do this without at least the recognition from the Iraqi government through the constitution under parliament, or else it's illegitimate".

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"We thought after 2003 that we were building a new Iraq, but instead of building a democratic civilian state, we found a sectarian state". It is said the 20th century has never been kind to them. The Kurds have long accused Baghdad of withholding budget payments to the region, while Baghdad has opposed oil deals made by the Kurds without its consent.

"It is impossible to avert those threats unless Turkey takes steps to remove those mistakes and threats actively on the field", said Turkey's Defense Minister Nurettin Canikli, Hurriyet Daily News reported.

"We conveyed our opinions [on referendum] clearly and without hesitation to our friends in the coalition". "I think it would be better if they saw this".

He pointed out that the Iraqi Kurdistan are now "choosing between freedom and slavery" and that the Peshmerga will not allow the territory to fall "into the hands of enemies". Gowhar's village has been on the frontlines of the war against ISIS, and Gowhar - and many others who have fought - hope that the Kurdish sacrifice was not in vain.

The council urged "dialogue and compromise" to address differences between the Iraqi government and the regional authorities. "It is still unclear whether [the referendum will be] held or not".

The referendum will be held in the disputed areas of Kirkuk, Nineveh and Diyala, as well as the district of Tuz Khurmato.

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