“The Referendum in Northern Iraq Is Null and Void for Us”

“The Referendum in Northern Iraq Is Null and Void for Us”

Speaking at the International Ombudsman Conference in Istanbul, President Erdoğan, with regard to the referendum in northern Iraq, said: “It is totally unacceptable that steps are being taken toward separation during a period when Iraq needs unity, solidarity and integrity more than ever.”

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan delivered a speech at the International Ombudsman Conference in Istanbul.


Regarding Turkey's EU accession talks, President Erdoğan underscored that Turkey has fulfilled the EU’s full membership requirements and does not have any shortages or problems with regard to chapters and legislative alignment, and said: “We are only faced with a problem that the European Union isn’t fulfilling its own responsibilities. By not closing the chapters, practically usurping our right to move freely, by not fulfilling its responsibilities toward refugees, and by failing to keep its many promises, the European Union has destroyed its credibility.”

Underlining that Turkey will not be the side that throws in the towel in this “theater play” between Turkey and the EU, The side which needs to decide on this issue and declare it to the whole world is the European Union. Let them make their decision. We will make the decision easily. They need not worry. We will wait patiently until we hear this decision.”


“Tens of thousands of people have lost their lives in the Rakhine state,” President Erdoğan said. “600 thousand people are leaning against Bangladesh. We are watching them cross rivers on TV screens. No one is raising their voice. All they say is; ‘We have condemned Myanmar in the strongest way possible.’ And what else have we done? There are no sanctions. Sanctions should be imposed in such a way that they pull themselves together. There is clearly a genocide going on there. I am saying it clearly, which might disturb them: Do those, who talk about ‘Islamic terrorism’, also talk about ‘Christian terrorism,’ ‘Jewish terrorism’ or ‘Buddhist terrorism’? No, they don’t. They always show Buddhists as goodwill ambassadors like this but actually there is ‘Buddhist terrorism’ going on in Myanmar right now. They will now tear into Erdoğan now. Let them. You cannot brush over this with yoga or anything else. All humanity should know this.”


“Given the situation of the country, the referendum decision in northern Iraq is an attempt that smells opportunism. It is totally unacceptable that such steps are being taken toward separation during a period when Iraq needs unity, solidarity and integrity more than ever. We have the utmost respect for our Kurdish brothers and sisters’, just like everyone else, rights, security and demand for a prosperous life. We have always stood with the administration in northern Iraq in their efforts to this end. During their most troubled times when there was no one else on their side, we gave them the necessary support and kept them on their feet. However, we also have Arab and Turkmen brothers and sisters in Iraq. There are Yezidis, Keldanis, Assyrians. We also respect their rights.”


Noting that the Northern Iraq is the shared life space of all these peoples, President Erdoğan said: “It is not the life space of a single person or tribe.” Underscoring that a group’s effort to take the region under its control will only lead to new conflicts and sufferings that will continue for many years to come, President Erdoğan said: “No one can expect us to turn a blind eye to the creation of a new conflict and crisis zone right across our border. Where we stand is very clear on this matter. Regardless of the results, the referendum, which is not in conformity with the current law in Iraq, is null and void for us, and we call it illegitimate.”

Stating that Turkey will continue to work to ensure Iraq’s territorial integrity and social unity, President Erdoğan said: “We are taking and will continue to take all kind of steps on political, economic, commercial and security fronts. The armed forces did not take necessary steps in Silopi for no reason. There is no compromise.” Adding that further measures will be announced later in the week, including closing the border crossing, President Erdoğan said: “We will see through which channels the local government in northern Iraq will transport its oil, or where it will sell it. We have the valve. The moment we close the valve, it’s done.”

Underscoring that the local government in northern Iraq must backtrack on its decision, President Erdoğan said: “The federal state and the parliament do not accept it, too. Similarly, we will not allow the establishment of a terror state in Syria. Supposedly, the PYD-YPG will establish a state in northern Syria. These are nothing but empty dreams. I would like to reiterate that these developments, which are merely strategic moves for others, are a matter of our state and nation’s survival for us. We share a 911-km-long border with Syria. We will never allow such a structure there. As I have said, we may come there overnight all of a sudden. We have done it in the Operation Euphrates Shield. Now, it is not possible for us to allow such developments.

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