Iranian, Turkish Top Generals Warn of Repercussions of Iraqi Kurdish Referendum

Iranian, Turkish Top Generals Warn of Repercussions of Iraqi Kurdish Referendum

Iranian, Turkish Top Generals Warn of Repercussions of Iraqi Kurdish Referendum

"But regarding the referendum and the presented alternative, he said that 'it is not just my decision, and we will discuss this issue with the leadership of Kurdistan and will announce our stance in the near future", the Kurdish Presidential Office's statement was quoted as saying by Rudaw news agency.

The governor of Iraq's oil-rich Kirkuk province condemned a vote by Iraq's parliament on Thursday to remove him from office as "unlawful" and vowed to stay in power. A majority voted to remove the governor, MP Husham al-Suhail told Reuters.

Turkish media has in recent days been full of reports that almost 70 years after the vast majority of Kurdish Jews emigrated to Israel, Kurdish leader Masoud Barazani has reached a secret deal with Israel to have their descendants sent back.

Kurdish officials have said that an expected "yes" vote will not trigger an automatic declaration of independence, but rather strengthen their hand in lengthy negotiations on separation with the central government. In Iraq, where they make up an estimated 15% to 20% of the population of 37 million, Kurds faced decades of brutal repression before acquiring autonomy following the 1991 Gulf War.

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Turkey on Thursday warned Iraqi Kurdish leaders that a planned independence referendum this month would "have a cost", as Ankara refused to budge in its opposition to the poll.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in June strongly criticised the referendum plan, calling it "an error" and "a threat" to Iraq's territorial integrity.

"We have made it clear that Turkmen don't want this referendum to be held - neither in Kirkuk nor in other disputed areas", Turan said. But it is only in Iraq where they have achieved a recognised autonomy.

Israel maintains discreet military, intelligence and business relations with the Kurds since the 1960s, looking at the minority ethnic group - whose indigenous peoples are divided between Iraq, Turkey, Syria and Iran - as a buffer against the common Arab enemies.

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