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Turkey to take stronger steps in response to Iraqi Kurdish referendum - Erdogan

Turkey to take stronger steps in response to Iraqi Kurdish referendum - Erdogan”

Fearing Kurdish separatism within their own borders, Iran and Turkey have launched joint military exercises with Iraqi troops at their borders with the region.

"From the point of view of Iran and Turkey, Iraq and Syria are indivisible and independent entities, and we do not accept border changes", Rouhani said.

Erdogan, whose security forces have been embroiled in a decades-long battle with Kurdish separatists in southeast Turkey, repeated his accusation that Israel was behind the Iraqi Kurds' referendum.

Besides, Secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Ali Shamkhani on Monday slammed the independence referendum by the Kurds, saying the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) adopted an "irresponsible and amateurish approach".

In the same time-frame, the amount imported from Iraq dropped by 20%, as Iran replaces Iraq as the top supplier to Turkey.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan arrived in the Iranian capital, Tehran, this morning to discuss regional and bilateral developments.

The judge read out guilty verdicts for the first several defendants, according to a Reuters reporter at the court in Mugla, southwestern Turkey.

"The Iraqi Kurdish secession vote is an act of betrayal toward the entire region", he went on.

These measures could increase if the government of Erbil does not rectify its independence, Erdogan said.

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Aside from Turkey and Iran, Iraq's central government in Baghdad also opposed the referendum.

Turkey also has sizeable Kurdish population -14 million, out of a total population of about 81 million - that resides in the southeast of the country and bordering Iraq and Iran's Kurdish territories.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Erdogan vowed to work closely together to prevent the disintegration of Iraq and Syria and to oppose the Iraqi Kurds' drive for independence.

Speaking at a meeting with Akar in Tehran, Shamkhani said the KRG's approach to hold the independence vote was "irresponsible and amateur".

The two governments have taken opposing sides in the six-year civil war in Syria but relations have thawed this year with them both joining Russian Federation as co-sponsors of peace talks which began in Kazakstan in January.

The Iranian military announced on October 2 it would host joint military exercises with the Iraqi army near the Iraqi Kurdish region.

In the war game, code-named Heidar-e-Karrar, various units of the Iranian Army, including the Rapid Reaction Unit, the Artillery Unit, and the Drone Unit participated.

Last week, the Iranian Army and the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) staged joint military drills along the country's western border areas.



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