TEHRAN, Sep. 18 (Press Shia) – Sending a message to KRG the Turkish army said it launched a military exercise on Turkey-Iraq border on Sept. 18, just a week before the Iraqi Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) is set to hold an independence referendum.

The exercise will take place in the Silopi province near the Habur border gate. The army said the exercise is “part of Turkey’s anti-terror operations” in the border region, reported Hurriyet Daily.

Around 100 military vehicles including tanks, towed howitzers, and launching pads were reported to be participating in the drill.

The move came after Turkey harshened its opposition to the KRG’s referendum bid. Turkey has said KRG President Massoud Barzani’s push to hold an independence referendum is an issue of national security and Ankara will therefore take “all necessary measures.”

As the army drill sought to send a message to the Barzani administration, Turkey is also continuing its diplomatic efforts to push Arbil to cancel the referendum.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will meet Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi in New York at the upcoming UN meetings, as well as United States President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron, in a bid to coordinate efforts to this end.

Erdoğan has said Turkey’s “decisive stance” will be announced on Sept. 22 following the National Security Council (MGK) meeting under the leadership of himself and with the participation of senior military and civilian officials.