Turkey plans security steps over Iraqi Kurdish referendum

A memorial to killed Peshmerga in Nineveh province

Meanwhile, KRG President Masoud Barzani postponed a scheduled news conference on the controversial referendum from Saturday to Sunday.

The UN Security Council has warned of the potentially destabilising impact of a planned referendum on independence for the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. It is estimated that there are around 35 million Kurds in Iraq, Iran and Syria.

In areas disputed between Arbil and Baghdad, some have issued strong warnings against the vote. The Kurds propose that following the referendum negotiations take place with Baghdad and other governments in the region on how to carry out the decision in an orderly and peaceful manner. However, Kurdish officials say they will use it to pressure the Iraqi government in Baghdad to come to the negotiating table and formalize their independence bid.

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".

"We conveyed our opinions [on referendum] clearly and without hesitation to our friends in the coalition".

Iraq's central government has threatened to intervene militarily if the vote leads to violence. They were denied a homeland, despite promises, in the post-World War I imperialist carve-up of the Middle East by the British and French rulers.

"It's impossible to think that the leadership would then cancel the referendum", Galbraith, a former US ambassador to Croatia, told VOA Kurdish by phone from Irbil, the capital of the Kurdish region.

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

The Security Council urged the Kurdistan Regional Government, which called for the referendum, to settle its issues with the Iraqi government through constitutional methods, dialogue and compromise.

Many fear Kurdish fighters seek to displace Arab populations in areas they seize.

The Security Council noted the "critical" role that Kurdish forces have played in combating the Islamic State terrorist organisation, which captured large swathes of Iraqi territory in 2014.

The two men discussed the referendum and stressed the importance of maintaining Iraq's territorial integrity, the military said, referring to the vote as "illegitimate".

"We believe that taking into consideration the global conditions. the proposal meets the strategic objectives of our people and we have informed Massud Barzani and the KDP of our position", Bakhtiar added.

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