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Turkish PM: Kurdish referendum illegitimate, null and void

Election committee workers place ballot boxes at a polling station ahead of the upcoming Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) controversial referendum, on September 24, 2017 in Suleymaniyah, Iraq. Voters in provinces controlled by the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) in northern Iraq are set to head to polls on Monday to vote in a controversial referendum on whether to secede from Iraq. According to data released by the KRG Independent High Electoral Commission, over 5 million people are expected to vote in Monday's referendum. Feriq Ferec / Anadolu Agency

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım on Sunday declared a vote for independence to be held on Sept. 25  by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) “null and void,” the state-run Anadolu news agency reported.

“Turkey will not welcome any changes of status or new entities on the southern border. The referendum that will be held tomorrow in northern Iraq is illegitimate, null and void,” said Yıldırım during a party meeting in Ankara.

“The Northern Iraq Regional Government, which took the decision on its own, without asking its people, and insisted on it despite opposition from all nations as well as the UN, will be primarily responsible for all possible developments,” added the prime minister.

Yıldırım underlined that people living in the region will possibly pay a post-referendum cost.
“Whatever the result of the referendum is, we will call on Kurds, Arabs and Turcomans to account for it, but we will say that those who insisted on it are at fault,” said Yıldırım.

The Turkish Parliament held an extraordinary session on Saturday and approved a motion to extend another one year a mandate to conduct cross-border operations in Syria and Iraq as tensions increase in the region ahead of the referendum.

The Kurdistan High Council for the Referendum said on Saturday that rumors of postponing the vote for independence are baseless and that it will be held on time.

Despite reactions the KRG continued preparations for the referendum, putting ballot boxes in polling stations, Anadolu reported from the region.

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