One killed after Kurdish pro-referendum protesters attack Turkmen party building in Kirkuk

Published 19.09.2017 00:12
Updated 19.09.2017 00:35
Photo taken from Twitter
Photo taken from Twitter

Clashes took place in Iraq's Kirkuk late Monday between supporters of controversial Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) independence referendum and Turkmens.

Iraqi Turkmen Front leader Ershad Salihi said that a Peshmerga group attacked the headquarters of Turkmen National Movement Party, and clashes broke out.

"In the gunfight, a Kurdish-speaking person died and two others were wounded," he said.

"The situation is tense in Kirkuk," he added.

The deputy of the front, Abbas Beyatlı also confirmed the incident.

"We condemn this attack in the strongest terms. Some circles are trying to destabilize Kirkuk with such provocations."

The Iraqi parliament voted last week to reject the nonbinding referendum, authorizing the Iraqi prime minister to take all measures necessary to preserve Iraq's unity.

Turkey, the U.S., Iran and the U.N. have all backed Baghdad in speaking out against the referendum planned for the Kurdish-controlled areas of northern Iraq, saying the vote would distract from operations against Daesh and lead to greater instability in the region.

A "yes" vote in the independence referendum would not spell immediate independence for the Kurdish region, since the referendum does not have legal force. However, Kurdish officials say they will use it to pressure the Iraqi government in Baghdad to come to the negotiating table and formalize their independence bid.

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