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Barzani defies top court decision: Referendum to be held Sept. 25

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Iraq’s Supreme Court has ordered the suspension of an independence referendum in Iraqi Kurdistan, slated for Sept. 25, until it makes a final ruling on the case, Al Jazeera reported on Monday.

“The referendum will be held on Sept. 25,” Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Nechervan Barzani said on Monday in response to the decision of the top court, CNN Türk reported.

According to Rudaw, the court made the ruling after two members of the Iraqi parliament from the Turkmen Front asked the court to look into the legality of the Kurdish referendum, especially in Kurdistan and disputed areas such as the oil-rich province of Kirkuk.

Baghdad and Ankara have been strongly opposing the independence referendum in the KRG.

“You ask for help during your difficult times and get all sorts of support, but when it comes to dividing Iraq you go your own way,” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Sunday, criticizing KRG President Massoud Barzani for a contradiction in his relations with Turkey.

Erdoğan said Turkey has a similar perspective to Baghdad about the referendum.

“We will hold a meeting with Mr. [Iraqi Prime Minister Haider] al-Abadi. As far as we can see, we have a similar perspective. What is that perspective? The unity of Iraq,” added Erdoğan.

Commenting on the referendum Erdoğan said on Friday night that Barzani would better understand Turkey’s position after a National Security Council (MGK) meeting that has been rescheduled for Sept. 22 due to the Kurdistan referendum.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, who paid a visit to Baghdad and Arbil on Aug. 23, called on the KRG on Aug. 16 to review its decision, warning that it could trigger a civil war in Iraq.

Turkey’s MGK at a meeting on July 17 stated that “the KRG’s referendum decision will not be able to be put into practice either de jure or de facto.”

Chairman of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) Devlet Bahçeli on Aug. 24 said an independence referendum in northern Iraq must be seen as a reason for war for Turkey.

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