Turkey to discuss response to Kurdish independence vote

Turkey's political and military leaders are due to meet to consider possible sanctions and other measures against Iraq's Kurdish region if it goes ahead with a referendum on independence.

Turkey is convening a National Security Council — to be followed by a Cabinet meeting — on Friday as it steps up pressure on Iraq's Kurds to abandon the vote slated for Sept. 25.

Ankara has forged close economic ties to the semi-autonomous Kurdish region but strongly opposes moves toward Kurdish independence. Turkey has a large ethnic Kurdish population and is battling a Kurdish insurgency on its territory.

This week, the military launched previously unannounced military exercises near the border with Iraq in an apparent warning to Iraq's Kurds. Turkey's parliament will also hold an extraordinary session on Saturday.