Turkey warns Iraq: Kurdish referendum security threat

Posted September 17, 2017

Hours after the decision, the White House publicly called for the first time on the KRG to cancel the referendum, warning that the vote was "distracting from efforts to defeat ISIS (Islamic State) and stabilise the liberated areas".

"The UK calls on the Kurdistan Regional Government to seize this opportunity and to enter into serious negotiations with Baghdad".

Turkey warned Iraqi Kurdish leaders this week that there would be "a price to pay" for going ahead with the vote.

Barzani has been in dispute with Gorran since he blocked its parliamentarian speaker from Irbil and shuttered the legislature in 2015. This includes parts of the northern province of Nineveh and the oil-rich province of Kirkuk, captured by Kurdish peshmerga after the Iraqi army collapsed in 2014 as the "Islamic State" swept through large swaths of the country.

After the show of hands, lawmakers stood to sing the Kurdish anthem while others raised flags to the sound of applause.

"We refuse to be their servants", he told cheering independence supporters.

"We launched this petition to protest the council's failure to implement decisions taken by the central administration, represented by the Iraqi parliament", Mimaroglu said.

Critics of the vote, including the United States and the European Union and even some members of Iraq's 5.5 million-strong Kurdish minority, say it could distract from the fight against jihadists.

An worldwide delegation, including the US, Britain and United Nations envoys, met with Kurdish President Masoud Barzani and presented the alternative path for the controversial independence referendum.

Lawmakers from a third party, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), ensured the required quorum.

Voters will face one question, asked in Kurdish, Arabic, Turkmen, and Assyrian: "Do you want the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) and Kurdistani territories that are outside KRI to become an independent state?"

Kirkuk is home to sizeable Arab and Turkmen populations and lies outside the official boundaries of the Kurdistan region.