The U.S. embassy in Iraq cautioned its citizens that there may be unrest during a referendum on independence planned by the Kurdish authorities in northern Iraq, opposed by Tureky and the central government in Baghdad.
"In particular, U.S. citizens should avoid travel into and within territories disputed between the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) and the Government of Iraq," the travel warning said.
The KRG has resisted calls by the United Nations, the United States and Britain to delay the referendum. Iraq's powerful neighbors, Iran and Turkey, strongly oppose the vote.
KRG should mull calls to scrap poll: Kurdish official
An official in northern Iraq’s Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) on Saturday urged the government to consider recent proposals from the international community to cancel Monday’s referendum for Kurdish region independence."Considering the current situation of the world, Iraq, and the Kurdish region, the PUK urges that the proposal by friendly countries and the United Nations should be taken into account,” Mela Bahtiyar, a member of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), said in a statement, referring to recent statements in which the world body -- along with Washington, London, and Ankara – expressed their opposition to the referendum.“Taking the proposals into account,” Bahtiyar added, “serves the strategic objectives that our people want to achieve”.Bahtiyar said the PUK conveyed its opinion to Masoud Barzani, head of the KRG.Next Monday’s referendum will see Iraqis in KRG-controlled areas -- and in a handful of territories disputed between Erbil and Baghdad -- vote on whether or not to declare independence from Iraq.Along with the Iraqi government, Turkey, the U.S., Iran, and the UN have all voiced their opposition to the planned poll.Baghdad has even threatened to intervene militarily in the event that the vote leads to violence.Barzani, for his part, has said that a victory for the “yes” vote would not initiate an automatic declaration of independence but would simply lead to further negotiations with Baghdad.
The controversial referendum slated for Sept. 25, results of which will be non-binding, will see residents of the Kurdish region vote on whether or not to declare independence from Iraq.
Baghdad, however, rejects the planned poll, saying it will adversely affect the fight against Daesh, which still maintains a significant presence in northern Iraq.
The Iraqi government also believes that holding the poll would violate the terms of the country's 2005 constitution.
Turkey also rejects the planned referendum, saying the region’s stability depends on the maintenance of Iraq’s unity and territorial integrity.
Turkish, Iraqi army chiefs discuss planned Kurdish vote
Turkish Chief of General Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar and his Iraqi counterpart held talks Saturday on the planned referendum in northern Iraq's Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) set to be held on Monday. Meeting in the Turkish capital Ankara, Akar and Iraqi Army Chief of Staff Gen. Othman al-Ghanimi reiterated the importance of preserving Iraq’s territorial integrity and political unity, and the joint fight against terror organizations, particularly Daesh and the PKK, according to a statement released by the Turkish General Staff.They also exchanged views on maintaining effective cooperation on border security and safeguarding the region's security and stability, the statement added.Turkish parliament ratifies motion on Iraq, Syria The non-binding referendum will see Iraqis in KRG-controlled areas -- and in a handful of territories disputed between Erbil and Baghdad -- vote on whether to declare full independence from Iraq. Along with Baghdad, Turkey, the U.S., Iran, and the UN have all spoken out against the poll, saying it will only distract from the ongoing fight against Daesh and further destabilize the region. Iraq’s central government has threatened to intervene militarily if the vote leads to violence.The KRG’s leader, Masoud Barzani, has said a Yes vote would not result in an automatic declaration of independence but would simply lead to further negotiations with Baghdad.Turkish defense minister urges KRG to call off pollKRG leader rules out delay to referendum schedule
Turkish defense minister urges KRG to call off poll
Turkey’s national defense minister on Saturday called on northern Iraq’s Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) to cancel its independence referendum planned for early next week.Addressing parliament on a motion to extend the government mandate to deploy troops in Iraq and Syria, Nurettin Canikli signaled that he supports a peaceful resolution of the disputes between the KRG and the central Iraqi government in Baghdad.Canikli warned of a dangerous convergence between global powers in Syria. "Such kinds of danger can grow more visible after the referendum,” he cautioned.Canikli added that the referendum poses a serious threat to Turkey's national security, and it "would be declared null and void for us.""We call once again for the cancellation of the referendum and giving up adventurism," said Canikli."I want to say once again that we, as Turkey, will support a solution within the Iraqi Constitution."Parliament is debating a motion to allow the extension of Turkey’s authority to launch cross-border military operations in northern Iraq and Syria for another year.The debate follows the Kurdish Regional Government's refusal to cancel the planned independence referendum, set for Monday, Sept. 25.KRG leader rules out delay to referendum scheduleMHP: Anything for TurkeyThe deputy parliamentary group chairman of the opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) said that his party's attitude on the referendum is clear."With this motion we say uncategorically that we’re not joking about suddenly coming at night, on not playing games, and we can afford anything at all for the survival of Turkey," said Erkan Akcay.He added: "The pirate referendum which is illegal and unacceptable should be cancelled before it is too late."The MHP's parliamentary group, as announced beforehand, supported the motion in the extraordinary parliamentary session.Ozturk Yilmaz, the deputy chair of Turkey’s main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), also announced that his party would support the motion.Saying that the referendum lacks international legitimacy, Yilmaz called on KRG President Masoud Barzani to cancel it.Yilmaz said that the referendum would endanger security in the region, adding, "Israel wants to use Barzani against Iran."He said: "We want the referendum to be cancelled and support the motion not for war but for peace in the region."Turkish parliament ratifies motion on Iraq, Syria‘Referendum is against Iraqi Constitution’Volkan Bozkir, an Istanbul deputy for the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party, said that the planned referendum violates Iraq’s Constitution."When the Iraqi Kurdish Regional Government [decided they] would hold the referendum, they were taking a move against the Iraqi Constitution," said Bozkir, also a former EU minister.Bozkir added: "We cannot continue our relations as they were before with an administration that moves against the Iraqi Constitution."The non-binding referendum will see Iraqis in KRG-controlled areas -- and in a handful of territories disputed between Erbil and Baghdad -- vote whether to secede from Iraq.Along with Baghdad, Turkey, the U.S., Iran and the UN have all spoken out against the poll, saying it will only distract from the ongoing fight against Daesh and further destabilize the region.Iraq’s central government has threatened to intervene militarily if the vote leads to violence.Barzani has said a Yes vote would not result in an automatic declaration of independence but would simply lead to further negotiations with Baghdad.
KRG leader rules out delay to referendum schedule
Any postponement of next Monday's controversial referendum on Kurdish regional independence is out of question, Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) President Masoud Barzani said on Saturday.“Holding a referendum is the decision of the people," Barzani said as he met with French ambassador to Iraq Bruno Aubert at his residence in Erbil, according to a statement issued by his office.The poll would not be postponed but be held on schedule, he added.His remarks came after repeated calls from Turkey, U.S. and Iran to cancel the vote slated for Sept. 25. They think the referendum will only distract from the ongoing fight against Daesh and further destabilize the region.Meanwhile, the latest talks between Erbil and Baghdad on the referendum ended fruitless as a KRG delegation met with the Shia National Alliance in capital Baghdad earlier in the day.Speaking on behalf of the KRG delegation, Roj Nuri Shaways said they expressed Erbil's determination to hold the referendum, but they could not agree on this with the central government in Baghdad."We conveyed our opinions [on referendum] clearly and without hesitation to our friends in the coalition. We told them that we want the dialogue [with Baghdad] to continue after Sept. 25 as well," he told a press conference after the meeting."They said that they would only support the dialogue for the pre-referendum [period].” “We have seen that our Kurdish brothers are insistent on the referendum. We have expressed that we are opposed to this completely. So we could not agree on [a solution to] the crisis,” Ali Allak, a member from Shia National Alliance, said.The non-binding referendum will see Iraqis in KRG-controlled areas -- and in a handful of territories disputed between Erbil and Baghdad -- vote whether to declare full independence from Iraq.Iraq’s central government has threatened to intervene militarily if the vote leads to violence.KRG’s leader, Masoud Barzani, has said a “Yes” vote would not result in an automatic declaration of independence but would simply lead to further negotiations with Baghdad.