Iraq, Turkey step up pressure over Kurd vote

Source:AFP Published: 2017/9/14 23:28:40

Iraq and Turkey on Thursday stepped up the pressure on Iraqi Kurdistan over its planned independence referendum, as the governor of oil-rich Kirkuk province that decided to take part in the vote was sacked.

Parliament, at Prime Minister Haider al-­Abadi's request, fired the governor of the northern province, Najm Eddine Karim, in a unanimous vote by 173 MPs present in the house.

With tensions rising, the Iraqi parliament on Tuesday voted to oppose plans by leaders of the autonomous Kurdish region in northern Iraq to hold the non-binding September 25 referendum.

The independence vote has faced strong opposition from the federal government in Baghdad as well as neighboring Iran and Turkey, which fear it will stoke separatist aspirations among their own sizeable Kurdish minorities.

Critics of the vote include the US, the EU and even some members of Iraq's 5.5 million-strong Kurdish minority. Turkey, a strong opponent, warned Iraqi Kurdish leaders on Thursday that any referendum would "have a cost."

Their "insistence on the referendum despite all friendly advice will definitely have a cost," the foreign ministry in Ankara said.

Posted in: MID-EAST

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