'200,000 Jews Will Settle Kurdistan': Turkey Turns to Fake News to Discourage Kurdish Referendum

After Netanyahu endorses Kurdish independence, Turkish pro-government outlets launch media blitz about 'secret' Israel-Kurdish deal to settle Kurdish Jews in new state

Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu meets with Iraq's Kurdistan region's President Massoud Barzani in Erbil, Iraq, August 23, 2017.
Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu meets with Iraq's Kurdistan region's President Massoud Barzani in Erbil, Iraq, August 23, 2017. AZAD LASHKARI/REUTERS

As Turkey ramps up its warnings against an independent Kurdistan, pro-government newspapers reported Wednesday an alleged deal to settle 200,000 Kurdish Jews in the new state, Al Monitor reported.  

The reports claim that the plan was hatched by Kurdistan Regional Government President Massoud Barzani, and come as Ankara ramps up its warning against a "yes" vote in the September 25 referendum.

One pro-government Turkish newspaper, Yeni Safak, wrote that Barzani "recieved support only from Israel during the referendum process" and will utilize "help from Kurds of Jewish origin."

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While Turkey and other Middle Eastern countries vehemently discourage Kurdish independence, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed support this week for the "legitimate efforts of the Kurdish people to achieve their own state." His comments came on the heels of an unusual statement made by former IDF deputy chief Maj. Gen. Yair Golan. Speaking in at a Washington event, Golan said that the Kurdish PKK is, in his personal view, "not a terrorist organization." The PKK is designated by the U.S. as a terrorist organization.

On Thursday, Turkey's foreign ministry warned Iraq's Kurds that holding the referendum will "come at a cost."

"We call on them to act with good sense and abandon this erroneous approach immediately," said Ankara's thinly-veiled threats.

Other Middle Eastern countries, all of them home to Kurdish populations, echoed Turkey's attempt to deter Kurdish independence. Earlier this week, the Iraqi parliament approved measures for its prime minister to maintain Iraq's unity in case of a "yes" vote. Iran's President Rohani called the situation "unacceptable," saying that "geographical change and division is not in the interest of any of the countries in the region."