Published: Sat, September 16, 2017
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Kurdish referendum will not be granted worldwide legitimacy

Kurdish referendum will not be granted worldwide legitimacy

The parliament of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) on Friday approved to hold a referendum for independence from Iraq on September 25.

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All Kurdish members boycotted Thursday's session, while 187 mainly Arab and Turkmen legislators voted in favor, the two lawmakers said.

Ankara expressed its support for the decision made in the Iraqi parliament Tuesday to oppose the independence vote, calling on the government in Baghdad to negotiate with the Irbil-based KRG.

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An worldwide delegation, including the United States, Britain and UN envoys, met with Barzani and presented the alternative path for the controversial independence referendum.

Iraq's Kurdish region plans to hold a referendum on support for independence from Iraq on September 25 in three governorates that make up their autonomous region, and in disputed areas like Kirkuk that are controlled by Kurdish forces but claimed by Baghdad. "This referendum is not legitimate and we do not recognize it", said main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) Spokesperson Bulent Tezcan on Wednesday. It is claimed by both the Kurds and the central government in Baghad.

Kareem is a vocal supporter of the referendum and campaigned for the vote also to be held in Kirkuk.

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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. While providing no details on the alternative, he said he has presented it to Kurdish leaders.

Turkey, too, rejects the planned referendum, saying the region's stability depends on the unity of Iraq and the maintenance of its territorial integrity.

"There's an alternative on the table". Speaking at a conference titled the "Future of Turkmens and Iraq ahead of the referendum" organized by the Middle East Strategies Research Center (ORSAM), Salihi said the region is having a hard time due to the KRG's referendum decision, drawing attention to the challenges the Turkmen population faces. 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. They fear increased tensions between Baghdad and Erbil will distract from the war on Islamic State militants who still occupy parts of Iraq and Syria. 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.

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