Turkish officials said that Turkey rejects the establishment of an independent Kurdish state in northern Iraq, Reuters reported Monday.
According to a Turkish official, as quoted byReuters, the Turkish government supports a unity government in Baghdad to counter the threat of Sunni fighters who have recently seized large swathes of Iraqi territory.
“Turkey’s position is to support the security and political unity in Iraq,” the official said.
The statement came after remarks by Huseyin Celik, a spokesman for Turkey’s ruling AK Party, published in the Financial Times on Saturday, have been cited as evidence that Turkey would accept the establishment of an independent Kurdish state if Iraq were to fall apart.
Iraqi Kurds have benefited from the recent turmoil in the country by seizing lands from which the government withdrew after the advance of ISIS fighters in June.
Turkey is concerned that Kurkish independence would stir up separatist sentiments among Turkish Kurds whose conflict with the Turkish government has left at least 40,000 killed over the past few decades. Peace talks have eventually led to a cease fire agreement between the two sides last year.
Furthermore, Turkey has recently allowed Iraqi Kurds, for the first time, to pump oil via a pipeline into a Turkish port to export it, amid opposition from Baghdad.
Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu voiced his support for Kurdish independence, unlike US position which supports unity of Iraq.