Ankara and Tehran threatened Erbil over Kirkuk’s Kurdistan flag, official

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ERBIL, Kurdistan Area – Each Ankara and Tehran threatened Erbil after the Kurdish-led native authorities in Kirkuk raised the Kurdistan flag alongside the Iraqi one over state buildings, a senior Kurdish official revealed on Tuesday night.

It was these threats, together with “illogical and sudden” messages popping out of Baghdad, that compelled the 2 predominant ruling events in Kurdistan to satisfy and resolve on holding a referendum on independence, Saadi Ahmad Pira, a member of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), advised members and supporters of his get together in Stockholm, Sweden.

“We acquired a robust message from Turkey, threatening us,” Pira defined, saying the menace was made within the days following a majority vote from the Kirkuk Provincial Council to boost the Kurdistan flag. “We acquired a message from Iran, strongly threatening us.”

“In Iraq, the place Sunnis and Shiites are in excessive disagreement, they turned one and joined collectively over the difficulty of the Kurdistan flag,” he continued. “That’s the reason we have been pressured to satisfy on the 2nd.” 

A high-level assembly of Kurdish management occurred in Erbil on April 2 to debate choices to answer the messages acquired from Ankara, Tehran, and Baghdad. The assembly concluded with an announcement that the Kurdistan Area will maintain a referendum on independence in 2017.

With this announcement, the Kurdish management “as a substitute of backing down, took a step ahead with referendum,” in order that we’re in “offensive mode,” stated Pira. 

Responding to claims that the assembly was a recreation of politics for home use, Pira defined that the assembly was not get together politics, however moderately was in response to a severe menace to the Kurdistan Area that required a “united” response from each events. 

“There was even a risk of troops being deployed,” he stated, with out making it clear what troops he was referring to.  

The assertion issued collectively by the PUK Kurdistan Democratic Celebration (KDP) after their April 2 assembly declared that the Kurdish nation is entitled to vote on its future by the observe of self-determination as it’s the “pure proper of the nation of Kurdistan to resolve on its political and administrative path in a referendum and an entity of an impartial state.”

Iran, Turkey, and Iraq all individually said that they’re towards elevating the Kurdistan flag in Kirkuk, and are additionally towards the independence referendum.
 
Two days after the April 2 assembly, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned Kirkuk isn’t Kurdish alone, but additionally Turkmen and Arab, and that if the Kurdistan flag isn’t taken down within the metropolis, a value will likely be paid. He warned that ties between and Erbil could endure.

The Iranian Quds commander, Qasem Soleimani, visited Sulaimani, the PUK stronghold, in an try to discourage a referendum on independence within the Kurdistan Area, the Arab-language newspaper Sharq al-Awsat reported.

In a diplomatic effort, the 2 KDP, PUK, and the Kurdish authorities held a gathering behind closed doorways with international missions in Erbil final week to formally inform them about Kurdish intentions to carry a referendum on independence.

Some 30 international consulates in Erbil, together with these of Turkey and Iran, have been invited to the assembly.  Kurdish leaders emphasised that the referendum will likely be confined to Iraqi Kurdistan territories, dispelling doable fears that the Kurdish authorities could intrude in neighbouring international locations which have important Kurdish populations, specifically Turkey, Iran, and Syria.