POLİTİCS

Turkish security body, cabinet to discuss Kurdish poll

High-level meetings come days before controversial independence poll in Iraq's Kurdish region

Anadolu Agency

Turkey’s National Security Council and cabinet will meet separately on Friday to discuss the Kurdish Regional Government's (KRG) plans to unilaterally hold a referendum next week.

The meetings will be held at the Presidential Complex in Ankara at 3 p.m. local time (1200GMT) and 6 p.m. (1500GMT) respectively, according to the Turkish presidency.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said the cabinet will discuss the planned referendum and possible sanctions against the KRG.

Turkey’s armed forces are also continuing military exercises close to Iraqi border which began on Monday.

The KRG's plan to hold a referendum on independence from Iraq has been met with overwhelming discouragement from world leaders.

The U.S. has said it "strongly opposes" it, and pointed to the "high" cost of the referendum for "all Iraqis, including Kurds".

Erdogan has said Ankara would respond with sanctions if next week's referendum went ahead. Erdogan and U.S. President Donald Trump later agreed on Thursday that the vote should not go ahead, according to a statement by the Turkish presidency on their bilateral meeting in New York.

French President Emmanuel Macron has asked KRG President Masoud Barzani to delay the poll.

Residents in provinces controlled by the KRG are scheduled to vote Sept. 25 on independence from Baghdad.

The oil-rich province of Kirkuk is among the contested areas where the vote is planned.

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