ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) - Leader of Turkey's far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) Devlet Bahceli described a referendum next month by the Kurdistan Region on independence from Iraq as a casus belli for his country.
"Anyone thinking of activating dynamics that divide Turkey should be beheaded," Bahceli told reporters during a press conference at his party's headquarters in capital Ankara, reported Kurdistan 24's bureau there.
Turks fear any attempt at statehood by the Kurds in Iraq would embolden others in Turkey, Syria, and Iran in seeking self-rule if not outright independence.
"Barzani is saying that he won't postpone the referendum, that they will found a religiously pluralistic state. We must show our national strength, hurling and hanging those who wish to break up our homeland," the far-right leader said.
Bahceli's rhetoric against the Kurds was much harsher compared to that of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's government, to which he is domestically allied, despite a strong intraparty opposition.
Erdogan last month threatened a 'heavy price' for the Kurdistan if it went ahead with the September 25 referendum but did not elaborate.
Yesterday, his Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu reiterated Ankara's rejection of the referendum but gave milder messages stressing a need for reconciliation between Baghdad and Erbil after a meeting with Kurdistan's President Masoud Barzani.
Bahceli claimed Kurdish aspirations across the region were a part of a "savage imperialist" conspiracy perpetrated by the United States.
The US militarily supports the Kurds fighting the Islamic State (IS) group in Iraq and Syria, a policy that has alienated its NATO ally Turkey.
Editing by Ava Homa