ANKARA - Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says Israel’s Mossad spy agency has played a role in the recent Kurdish independence referendum in northern Iraq.
During a televised speech in the eastern Turkish city of Erzurum on Saturday, Erdogan expressed sorrow that Iraqi Kurds had acclaimed the recent independence referendum with Israeli flags.
"This shows one thing, that this administration (in northern Iraq) has a history with Mossad, they are hand-in-hand together," Erdogan said.
"Are you aware of what you are doing? Only Israel supports you," he added.
The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) held a non-binding referendum on secession from Iraq in defiance of Baghdad’s stiff opposition on September 25. Kurdish officials said over 90 percent of voters said ‘Yes’ to separation from Iraq.
While much of the international community, including the UN, the European Union and Iraq’s neighbors, has opposed the referendum, Israel has been the only entity to openly support an independent Kurdish state, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu backing "the legitimate efforts of the Kurdish people to attain a state” of their own.
Erdogan vowed that Iraq’s Kurdistan "will pay a price" for the "unacceptable" independence referendum.
"An independent state is not being founded in northern Iraq, but on the contrary a continuously bleeding wound is being opened," he said.
"To ignore this reality benefits neither us, nor our Kurdish brothers in Iraq," Erdogan said, urging Iraqi Kurds to "wake up from this dream" of independence.