Turkey to discuss response to Kurdish independence vote

The entrance to the Peshmerga camp at Nawaran near a road checkpoint

Under Iraq's post-Saddam Hussein government, the Kurds have significant autonomy.

Turkey, Iran and Iraq have agreed to consider countermeasures against the Iraq's Kurdish Regional Government over a planned independence referendum, Turkey's Foreign Ministry said on Thursday.

It called for "dialogue and compromise" between the Kurdistan government and the central government in Baghdad.

He added: "The pirate referendum which is illegal and unacceptable should be cancelled before it is too late".

Barzani took advantage of the rally to push for a yes-vote for independence.

Barzani said that the issue of postponement of the referendum has gone out of his hands after it became a public issue.

Describing how Iraqi officials did not respect partnership in the new Iraq established after the 2003 US-led invasion, Barzani declared, "We won't go back to a failed experience", reiterating: "We can no longer live with Baghdad".

Massoud Barzani, president of the Kurdistan region of Iraq announced on Friday that the disputed independence referendum will go ahead on September 25.

Erkan Akcay, of the National Movement Party (MHP) said, "With this motion we say uncategorically that we're not joking about suddenly coming at night, or not playing games, and we can afford anything at all for the survival of Turkey".

The combination of a weakened US imperialism, the impact of the unending world capitalist economic crisis, and the coming apart of Iraq and Syria in ongoing wars and factional battles between Shiite and Sunni, has given the Kurds a historic opportunity to advance their struggle. "Are you not exhausted yet?"

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"Nothing is definitive yet. Discussions are continuing to try to offer him serious guarantees that will convince him to change his mind", said one official who did not wish to be identified.

"(Our fathers and mothers) think it's a betrayal not to vote "yes", said Muhammed, a researcher from Sulaimaniyah who is in his 30s.

He said the Iraqi government's efforts to delay the vote and start negotiations with Kurdish leaders were somewhat halfhearted, unlike successful campaigns by Britain against independence for Scotland and Canada's efforts against independence for Quebec.

Wages, including those of Kurdish peshmerga fighters, were slashed after those transfers ended.

Iraq's Supreme Court ordered the vote to be postponed, and Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi threatened force if the aftermath turns violent.

The Kurdish delegation met with representatives of the Shi'ite ruling coalition in Baghdad, and with the Iraqi president, Fuad Masum, himself a Kurd, whose role is largely ceremonial.

In a document seen by AFP, Massum suggested starting UN-backed talks towards a deal with Baghdad.

The mandate was first approved by parliament in October 2014 and has been renewed every year, allowing military action in Turkey's two southern neighbours against Islamic State extremists and other groups deemed by Ankara to be terror organisations. "In terms of the consequences of the referendum it's not something that we can fully control, (it) just carries a lot of risks". It also emphasized the importance of Iraq and Syria's territorial integrity and said "separatism based on ethnicity" poses a threat to both Turkey and regional stability.

Yildirim was speaking before the Turkish parliament holds an extraordinary session Saturday to discuss the extension of an existing mandate to use Turkish troops overseas in Syria and Iraq.

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