Iraq Kurds defy Baghdad in historic independence vote

IKBY President barzani we are ready to have constructive conversations with Iraq

Speaking to media at the Esenboga Airport in Ankara, CHP head Kemal Kilicdaroglu said an important step is needed "to quickly unite the Iraqi central government, Turkey and Iran, and create a common solution to this problem".

The referendum has raised alarm in Iraq's neighbours - Turkey, Iran and Syria - over concerns it could encourage their own Kurdish minorities to break away.

Turkey and Iraq will launch major military manoeuvres on the common border on Tuesday following a controversial referendum in northern Iraq, the Turkish military announced.

Washington and many Western countries have also called for its postponement or cancellation, saying it will hamper the fight against the Islamic State.

An armed conflict between Iraq and the Kurds would pit two close USA allies against each other and detract from their war against the Islamic State group.

The ballots will take days to count, but early results suggest Kurds have voted overwhelmingly in favour of independence.

Iraq's central government has threatened to intervene militarily if the vote leads to violence.




Voters were asked to say "yes" or "no" to the question: "Do you want the Kurdistan Region and Kurdistani areas outside the (Kurdistan) Region to become an independent country?"

Erdogan said a border crossing with Iraq had been closed in one direction and that Turkey would shut it entirely.

"We will seize our independence through the polls", he said.

However, Iran's Foreign Ministry announced on Monday that the country's land border with the Iraqi Kurdistan Region remained open despite its independence referendum.

It followed reports on Sunday evening that Tehran had ordered all flights to and from Iraqi Kurdistan to be halted in response to the independence referendum.

Opposition to the vote emerged among non-Kurdish populations in areas disputed by the KRG and Baghdad, mainly the oil-rich region of Kirkuk. There were fewer billboards celebrating the referendum, reflecting resentment that a "yes" vote could be seen as a plebiscite for the Kurdish leader.

"Iran and Turkey have warned the Kurds not to go ahead with the vote".

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