Iraqi Kurdish Parliament Backs Independence Referendum

Sheri Evans
September 17, 2017

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said in a live interview with Turkish broadcaster A Haber late Friday that Turkey would announce its plan regarding the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) independence referendum in the near future.

"The referendum is distracting from efforts to defeat Daesh and stabilize the liberated areas", it added.

"If they have a stronger alternative to the referendum, the Kurdish leadership will look at it, but if they want [us] to postpone the vote with no alternatives, we won't", Barzani said Thursday.

The non-binding referendum will see residents in provinces controlled by the KRG vote on independence from Iraq.

The opposition Gorran movement boycotted Friday's parliamentary session, the first since a dispute between them and Barzani's KDP caused the suspension of the assembly in October 2015.

Speaking to, political scientist Alexander Markarov said Iraqi Kurdistan's leader strongly supports the independence vote when, according to world powers, it can pose serious threat to the regional security and the issue of self-determination in a number of regions.

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Meanwhile, Iranian-backed Iraqi Shi'ite paramilitary groups have threatened to dislodge the Kurdish forces from the Kirkuk region, which is due to take part in the referendum.

"The referendum's legitimacy comes from the people of Kurdistan, not from the outside", he added.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says his country will hold a high-level security meeting on September 22 to decide what response to take over a planned Kurdish referendum on independence.

Baghdad has condemned the referendum, calling it "unconstitutional" and "unilateral". Irbil and Baghdad have always been in disagreement over oil revenues and contracts the Kurdistan region has signed with oil companies.

Even the United States, which initially endorsed the referendum, has warned against dire consequences of the KRG's unilateral declaration of independence.

Oil-rich Kirkuk is home to a mix of Arabs, Kurds, Turkmen and Christians. It is claimed by both the Kurds and the central government in Baghdad.

Other reports by TheSundaySentinel

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