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Tension over impending Kurdish referendum

Aerial view of Erbil, Iraq [Yunus Keleş/Anadolu Agency]

The Iraqi Turkmen Front has rejected the decision that Kirkuk Provincial Council took on Tuesday which called for an independence referendum in the Kurdish region on 25 September.

During a news conference in Kirkuk, Hassan Turan, a member of the Iraqi parliament and leader of the Turkmen Front, stated that "The administration of Kirkuk and the Kirkuk Brotherhood List (the Kurdish list in Kirkuk Provincial Council) proved once again that they no longer accept any partnership in the province".

He pointed out that they "are pursuing a unilateral approach that violates the Iraqi Constitution and throws Kirkuk into a national conflict to the detriment of the province's residents."

Turan added that "the decision of the Kirkuk Brotherhood List to involve Kirkuk in the referendum violates the Constitution and there is no constitutional and legal justification to hold this referendum for this."

He stressed that "taking the decision in the absence of the Turkmen and Arab representatives makes the means that there is no legitimacy to it."

We totally reject the decision of the Kirkuk Brotherhood List, and we call on all citizens of the province to boycott the referendum in order to avoid the negative effects which would result.

Turan stressed that "the Turkmen will resort to the judiciary to veto the List's decision as we did in the decision to raise the Kurdish region's flag in the province."

On 17 August, the Administrative Court of Justice cancelled a decision that has been taken by Kirkuk Provincial Council on 28 March to raise the Kurdish region's flag next to the Iraqi flag on top of the official institutions' buildings of the province.

Read: Kurdish referendum threatens Iraq's territorial integrity says US

Earlier this day, Kirkuk Provincial Council voted on the decision of the province's participation in the referendum, amid the rejection of the Iraqi Turkmen Front and the Arab bloc.

The Iraqi government rejects the referendum, saying it does not comply with Iraq's constitution, which was approved in 2005, and does not serve the Kurds' political, economic and national interests.

Iraq's neighbour, Turkey, also rejects the referendum, saying that maintaining the territorial integrity of Iraq is linked to establishing security, peace and prosperity in the region.

On more than one occasion, the United States expressed its concern over the referendum, considering it would constitute a deviation from urgent priorities, such as defeating Daesh and achieving the country's stability.

Last Saturday in Baghdad, through French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian and French Defense Secretary Florence Barley, France hinted that it also rejects the referendum.

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