Presidency: People of Kurdistan, Kirkuk reject Iraqi Parliament's 'unconstitutional' decision

Iraq Prime Minister Haider al Abadi

Iraq Prime Minister Haider al Abadi

Iraq's parliament "has no right" to remove Kirkuk's governor from office, a senior Kurdish official said on Thursday, after parliament voted him out following a request by Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi.

The Iraqi parliament voted by a majority to remove Karim after the local government in the province made a decision to join the Kurdish referendum, less than two weeks from now.

The Kurdish area of northern Iraq has enjoyed broad autonomy since the first Gulf War in 1991.

The referendum has been opposed by Baghdad because it would threaten the integrity of Iraq and would distract the ongoing fight against the Islamic State by the Iraqi forces.

The non-binding poll set for September 25 faces strong opposition from Turkey as well as from Iran, which fear it will stoke separatist aspirations among their own sizable Kurdish minorities.

The ministry added that it had welcomed the decision of the Iraqi Parliament that declared the expected vote illegal.

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Ankara has warned Iraq's autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) that there will be a "price to pay" for its insistence on holding an independence referendum later this month, calling on the administration in Arbil to think again.

Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin urged the Iraqi Kurdish government to "return from this wrong decision as soon as possible".

"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.

The move came after Iraq's parliament voted to remove the governor of Kirkuk, a staunch supporter of Kurdish independence.

"In that country (Iraq), which has been through so many problems, a referendum on independence can make the situation even worse", Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told the state TRT Haber broadcaster.

The Kurds are spread across the region, with large populations in Iraq, Syria, Turkey and Iran.

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