Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan threatened the Kurdistan Regional Government with severe sanctions if the independence vote takes place as scheduled on September 25 amid growing international pressure to postpone it.
Speaking on the sidelines of the U.N. meetings in New York City on Wednesday, Mr. Erdogan said Turkey’s government and National Security Council (MGK) would discuss the options to impose what kind of sanctions against the KRG, or if there would be one.
Despite international calls, pressure from great powers and neighbors, Mr. Barzani and his administration have vowed to proceed with the vote.
“[The] referendum committee’s meeting just ended. Referendum on time, alternatives are not convincing enough to replace referendum,” Hemin Hawrami, Senior Assistant to KRG leader Masoud Barzani, said on Twitter.
The Turkish president said the sanctions would not be “ordinary.”
He also said during his talks with other world leaders in New York City that disintegration of Iraq or Syria would unleash a global conflict. Turkey had previously said the independence vote would destabilize the entire region.
On Monday, Turkey carried out a large-scale military drill with tanks and artillery units near a major trade crossing point at the Iraqi border. Around 100 tanks and armored vehicles, assisted by short-range rocket launchers joined the drill which, the Turkish military officials said, would last until next Tuesday, the day after the referendum.