Iran and Turkey have sternly warned Iraqi Kurds against seceding from Iraq and creating a country independent of Baghdad.
In a joint televised press conference, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan called on Kurdish leaders to reconsider their intentions to declare an independent state.
Last month, more than 90% of Iraqi Kurds voted to secede from Iraq and establish the country of Kurdistan.
Currently, Kurdistan is a semi-autonomous state in northern Iraq, home to more than eight million Kurds.
Iran’s Rouhani said “As far as we are concerned, Iraq is one single country. We do not accept any geographical changes.”
Erdogan said the Kurdish referendum on independence was a decision, “made at the table with Mossad (Israeli intelligence) …it is illegitimate.” The Turkish president said only Israel accepts the results of the Kurdistan vote.
The two nations– along with Iraq have warned of harsh and necessary measures against the Kurds if the Barzani government declares Kurdistan independence.
The two leaders would not disclose what steps they would take, but they’ve already imposed restrictive economic and security measures against the Kurds, and have moved military personnel and equipment near the border region with Kurdistan.
Prior to the September 25th vote, the Trump administration said it opposed the timing of the referendum and supported the idea of a unified Iraq.
Iran’s Ayatollah Khameni claims the United States and Israel were behind the independence vote because they wanted to create a “new Israel” in the Middle East.
But after the polling, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson announced the United States would not recognize the referendum as legitimate.
Beginning in 2014 as ISIS forces seized much of Iraq’s Nineveh Plains, tens of thousands of Christians fled their homes and found a safe haven in Kurdistan.
World Compassion’s Terry Law visited Kurdistan during the referendum.
He shared his thoughts with The Global Lane and discussed his efforts to convince Kurdistan government officials to guarantee the rights of Christians in the autonomous region, or a possible future independent Kurdistan state. Watch the video above to hear Law’s comments.