Iraq's regional Kurdish government said on Friday that the Kurds are ready to defend their autonomous region if it were attacked under any pretext.
"We frankly say to all parties that if the region or the Kurdistan experiment come under attack under any pretext, we will completely be ready to defend our democratic experiment, our people's dignity and the sanctity of our homeland," Kurdish regional President Massoud al-Barzani said in a statement.
The statement expressed astonishment of the Kurdish government about the Turkish escalation after its parliament approved a military incursion into northern Iraq to target the outlawed Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK) fighters.
"We are astonished by the tension during the past few days and the Turkish stance to cross the Kurdistan's borders under the pretext of striking the PKK," it said.
Iraq's Kurdistan is not "responsible for the war between the Turkish government and the PKK," al-Barzani said, underlining that the Kurdish regional government "did not support violence and bloodletting and we are not willing to be dragged into this war."
The statement also denied Turkish accusations that the Kurdish government is supporting the PKK, demanding the Turks to present evidences that support their allegations.
On Wednesday, the Turkish parliament gave its nod to a motion submitted by the Turkish government for military incursion into neighboring Iraq to crack down on the PKK rebels based there.