Sunday, 17 December, 2017

Supreme court steps in to block Iraq Kurd independence vote

UN needs 'structural reform', Erdogan says Supreme court steps in to block Iraq Kurd independence vote
Christy Curtis | 20 September, 2017, 01:08

The move follows [JURIST report] the Council of Iraq's [official website] vote on Tuesday that denied [official summary, Arabic] the referendum petition of Kurdistan to permit its independence.

The Turkish army kicked off a military drill near the border with Iraq's Kurdish region, underscoring Turkey's threat to do whatever it deems necessary against an Iraqi Kurdish independence referendum scheduled for next week.

The vote was due on September 25 in the three provinces that make up the region, as well as disputed territories claimed by both the Kurdish region and Baghdad.

Barzani has said a "yes" vote would not trigger an immediate declaration of independence, but rather kick-start "serious discussions" with Baghdad.

A curfew was imposed in the oil-rich city of Kirkuk on Monday night, following deadly clashes between supporters and opponents of the referendum, Kirkuk police said.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency from Baghdad, Ershad Salihi, head of the Iraqi Turkmen Front (ITF), said the Turkmen National Movement Party's headquarters was attacked by Kurdish Peshmerga forces.

Turkey's prime minister is warning Kurds in Iraq and Syria against efforts to form "artificial" independent states that would threaten its security. A generator and satellite dish could be seen at one location. It weakened beyond 3.5 to the dollar on Tuesday for the first time in four weeks. Despite the nearby military maneuvers a kilometer-long line of traffic, mostly trucks and cargo, queued to enter Iraq at the Habour border gate. It is not immediately clear if the local government in the semi-autonomous Kurdish region would abide by Monday's court ruling. Turkey's strong economic ties to the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) will weigh on any response from Ankara. The Kurds complain central government has not paid the salaries of civil servants in Kurdistan, while Baghdad has strongly opposed Kurdish sales of oil without its consent. "We are working with the United Nations on alternatives to this referendum", he said before heading to the Iraqi Kurdish capital in the northern city.

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