World

Kurdish referendum will not be granted global legitimacy

Kurdish referendum will not be granted global legitimacy

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım said Friday that the United Nations might get involved in the controversy over the KRG's independence referendum plans in the upcoming days.Speaking to reporters in Ankara following Friday prayers, Yıldırım called on KRG leader Masoud Barzani to turn back from the decision to hold the vote, calling it "a grave mistake".

Kirkuk - a province contested by Baghdad and autonomous Iraqi Kurdistan and home to diverse communities, including Arabs and Turkmen - decided at the end of August to take part in the controversial referendum.

Iraq's parliament on Thursday voted to dismiss the Kurdish governor of the ethnically mixed Kirkuk province, in a move that could escalate tensions ahead of a planned Kurdish referendum on independence.

McGurk said he was optimistic Kurdish leaders would accept an alternative plan that would focus on dialogue between the region and Baghdad and postpone the referendum.

Baghdad and Iraq's neighbors are opposed to the vote.

Downplaying his removal, Karim told Reuters the vote will take place.

Barzani's statements came after the U.S. Special Envoy for the Coalition against Daesh Brett McGurk urged northern Iraq's KRG to halt its upcoming independence referendum, suggesting that there is an alternative.

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Turkey and the US are also opposed to the vote.

"He [Kareem] is an elected governor of the council of Kirkuk", said Hoshyar Zebari, a close adviser to President Barzani.

With the exception of Israel, nearly all Western countries friendly to the Iraqi Kurds have publicly opposed the Kurdish referendum.

Iraq's neighbours Iran and Turkey also oppose the plebiscite, fearing an independent Kurdish state could fuel separatism among their own Kurdish populations. It has its own parliament and armed forces, flies its own flag, and has been a close US ally against IS and other militant groups. US -backed Iraqi forces recently crushed IS fighters in Tal Afar in a swift 11-day battle, and they now are preparing to attack IS's last major stronghold of Hawija in Kirkuk province.

The Kurdish forces, known as peshmerga, are considered one of the most consistent and capable allies of the West in the fight against IS. Baghdad said the troops were there without permission and called on them to withdraw.

USA officials say peshmerga's cooperation with the Iraqi army played a critical role in removing IS from Iraq's second-largest city of Mosul.

The disputed territories, which also will participate in September's referendum, are large swaths of land in northern Iraq, including the oil-rich city of Kirkuk. It is claimed by both the Kurds and the central government in Baghad.


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