Turkish authorities announced on Monday that they are conducting a military drill at the border with Iraq. The snap exercise is taking place one week before Iraqi Kurdistan’s referendum on independence, which Ankara considers threatening to its national security.
The Turkish Armed Forces are conducting the exercise in the Silopi-Habur region of southeastern Anatolia that borders the Kurdistan region, according to an official release. The drill is conducted along with operations against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a Turkish-designated terrorist organization.
“Those who are chasing dreams in Syria and Iraq should know very well that any attempt that threatens our national security, from inside or outside our borders, will be immediately retaliated in kind,” Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim stated.
Turkish military sources told Reuters news agency that the drill would last until September 26, the day after the scheduled referendum.
In August, Turkish government spokesman and Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag said the referendum would “contribute to instability” in the region. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed on Sunday not to allow the Kurdish referendum to proceed.