Iraqi Turkmen leader calls for postponement of KRG referendum

Karim to continue as Kirkuk Governor says Iraqi Parliament’s dismissal ‘illegal

The Governor of Kirkuk Najmaldin Karim during an interview with Kurdistan 24

The Iraqi parliament earlier this week voted against plans by leaders of the autonomous Kurdish region in northern Iraq to hold the non-binding September 25 referendum.

Western officials have once again pressed on Kurdish leaders to cancel the 25 September independence referendum by threatening not to grant global legitimacy to the elections.

"But we will hold our referendum without an alternative and whatever happens, happens", he emphasized.

On Tuesday deputies of Iraq's national parliament in Baghdad voted against the Kurdish independence referendum and called on Baghdad to negotiate with the semi-autonomous Kurdish government.

We call on our Kurdish brothers to permanently postpone the referendum decision, Iraqi Turkmen Front Leader Ershad Salihi said Friday.

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim on Friday called on Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) to cancel the independence referendum in northern Iraq, describing it "a grave mistake".

Barzani criticized those claiming that referendum does not have legitimacy, saying "the referendum's legitimacy comes from the people of Kurdistan".

"We've been waiting more than 100 years for this", Omed Khoshnaw, a lawmaker from the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDR) of KRG President Massoud Barzani, told Reuters.

With the exception of Israel, nearly all Western countries friendly to the Iraqi Kurds have publicly opposed the Kurdish referendum.

The neighboring countries of Turkey, Iran and Syria also feel that the move would threaten their territorial integrity, as large numbers of Kurdish population live in those countries.

The U.S. Embassy in Baghdad said later in a statement it condemned the attack.

US officials say peshmerga's cooperation with the Iraqi army played a critical role in removing IS from Iraq's second-largest city of Mosul.

The attack in Nasiriyah in Thi Qar province started with militants opening fire at the checkpoint and the restaurant on the main highway that links Baghdad with the southern provinces, al-Nassiri said. Iraq's central government has rejected the polls as unconstitutional and illegal.

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