Iraqi Kurdistan to 'Pay Price' for Independence Referendum - Turkey

A man walks past a campaign poster printed on a Kurdish flag urging people to vote yes in the upcoming poll in Irbil Iraq

The sacking of Najmaldin Karim came upon a request made by Prime Minister Haider Abadi after Kirkuk - an oil-rich province claimed by both the central government in Baghdad and the autonomous Kurdish region in northern Iraq - chose to take part in the referendum.

The non-binding referendum will see residents of northern Iraq's Kurdish region controlled by KRG to vote on whether or not to declare formal independence from Baghdad.

Kirkuk Governor Najmaddin Kareem said he had no intention of following Baghdad's dismissal order, issued at the behest of Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi.

A salesman in Irbil's bazaar selling patriotic and pro-independence ware talks with a customer in Irbil Iraq

The ministry also welcomed the recent Iraqi Parliament vote that rejected the planned referendum for September 25 as unconstitutional.

They regard the city, just outside their Kurdistan region in northern Iraq, as their historical capital.

Baghdad has repeatedly criticized the move and the Iraqi Parliament has already voted against the referendum.

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Turkey, too, rejects the planned referendum, saying the region's stability depends on the unity of Iraq and the maintenance of its territorial integrity.

The PKK initially aimed to carve out an independent Kurdish state in the southeast although its declared ambitions are now more focused on autonomy and rights.

"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.

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"Israel has maintained discreet military, intelligence and business ties with the Kurds since the 1960s", says Reuters, "viewing the minority ethnic group - whose indigenous population is split between Iraq, Turkey, Syria and Iran - as a buffer against shared Arab adversaries".

"They asked us to keep calm", Karim said of his phone call with McGurk when asked about the meeting between a visiting delegation from the United States, United Kingdom, and United Nations with Kurdish President Masoud Barzani.

Jaafari said the global community must offer financial and other support to Iraq for the rebuilding of Mosul and other cities retaken from Islamic State.

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