Kirkuk governor sacked over Kurd independence vote

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

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

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım said Friday that the United Nations might get involved in the controversy over the KRG's independence referendum plans in the upcoming days.Speaking to reporters in Ankara following Friday prayers, Yıldırım called on KRG leader Masoud Barzani to turn back from the decision to hold the vote, calling it "a grave mistake".

The Kurdish parliament holds today an "extraordinary" session, the first in two years.

"It is a path focused on sustained process of negotiation, dialogue, and making sure we have a very serious effort through negotiation to resolve numerous outstanding issues confronting the region and the central government in Baghdad", McGurk added.

Gorran Movement and the Kurdistan Islamic Group (KIG) who are calling for the postponement of the referendum on independence, announced on Friday that they would boycott the extraordinary session as well.

"To this date, we have not received an alternative that can take the place of the referendum", Barzani was quoted as saying by KRG-based Rudaw.

"Heading into a referendum for September 25, there is no prospect for global legitimacy", Brett McGurk, a USA special envoy, told reporters after a delegation also including the United Nations and Britain met Kurdish President Massoud Barzani.

Barzani also criticized the Iraqi parliament's voting to reject the referendum and the sacking of the governor of Kirkuk.

"We would obviously very much encourage the political leaders here in the Kurdistan region to embrace this alternative path", McGurk said in a press conference in Iraqi Kurdistan's capital, Irbil. While providing no details on the alternative, he said he has presented it to Kurdish leaders. "It's decision time", he said.

But the ethnically mixed city also has Arab and Turkmen populations. It has its own parliament and armed forces, flies its own flag, and has been a close US ally against IS and other militant groups. They say a Kurdish bid for independence will disrupt that cooperation and may result in a war between the region and the central government, particularly on the fate of disputed territories. "But those steps have forced us to reconsider", Erdogan said.

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