Iraqi Kurdistan is voting in an independence referendum. The contentious referendum has been condemned by the central government of Iraq.
The Kurdish authority led by the KRG President Massoud Barzani is holding the election defying the concerns of the regional powers and international communities.
The poll opened in the morning in the disputed areas between Erbil and Baghdad and the oil-rich Kirkuk.
The central government of Iraq has called on the foreign countries to stop importing oil from the KRG led areas. The government asked the international community to put pressure on the Kurdish Regional Government.
The Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al Abadi said on Sunday in a televised address to the nation, “This is an unconstitutional decision against the social fabric of our citizens. We will not recognize the referendum, nor its results.”
“We will take follow-up steps to protect the unity of the country and the interests of every citizen living in a unified Iraq.”
The Kurdish referendum has been strongly opposed by the Turkish authority as well.
Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said on Saturday, “With our 80 million citizens and the 780,000 square kilometers of our homeland, we will never tolerate any adventurism for our country’s security or the welfare of our nation.”
“As a neighboring country, Turkey has given the necessary warning in a friendly way since the beginning. But we see that these warnings have not been heeded,” he added.
The referendum might get the war-torn Iraq into a new phase of violence and instability.
The Kurdish leadership, however, has been adamant to hold the referendum from the beginning. Today the KRG President Massoud Barzani tweeted after casting his vote, “Proud to cast my vote earlier this morning and partake in this historic day, the day of the Kurdish Referendum.”