Turkey's Prime Minister Binali Yildirim speaks at the Vietnam-Turkey Business Forum in Hanoi on August 24, 2017. (Photo by AFP)
Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim falls short of ruling out cross border operations if Iraq’s Kurdish region goes ahead with a planned independence vote.
"Naturally, it is a question of timing as to when security, economic and security options are implemented. Developing conditions will determine that," said Yildirim on Saturday, in response to a reporter who asked if Turkey would engage in cross-border operations.
Meanwhile, the Turkish parliament has extended a mandate authorizing the deployment of the country’s military forces in Iraq and Syria.
Also on Saturday, Hoshyar Zebaria, a member of the Kurdistan Region Referendum Council, has stressed that vote would not be postponed despite opposition from neighboring countries.
“The referendum does not mean the end of the world…It is a simple democratic process for the people of Kurdistan to express their will, to decide their future,” he said.
“We understand the misplaced concerns that [the referendum] might affect the fight against Daesh…The Kurdistan Region will be far more committed [in the battle against the terrorist group],” he added.
The region is adamant to hold the referendum on September 25 despite regional and international opposition. Critics say partitioning Iraq could be the last thing the country, scarred by years of violence, needs.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has also formally demanded suspension of the upcoming Kurdish independence referendum.

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