Iraq: Turkmen and Arab representatives state opposition to upcoming Kurdish referendum

Members of the Turkman and Arab community spoke out against the Kurdish independence referendum on Sunday in Kirkuk, less than 24 hours ahead of the voting. Mohamed Ayad, head of media of the Iraqi Turkmen Front political movement, promised that Turkmen parties will «boycott [the referendum] and won't recognise the results.» He also believed that if the referendum goes ahead the voting will... Еще lead to «conflicts between Hashid Shabi, Peshmerga and the Iraqi army.» This is due to the fact that Kirkuk has long been a disputed area between Baghdad and the Kurds. Arabs in the region also oppose to the referendum. Ismael Hadidi, head of the Hadidi tribe and representative of Arabs in Kirkuk, explains that they «are afraid of the future and the stability of Kirkuk» after the referendum. He added that their «goal is to be stable and to build a real partnership with our Kurdish brothers» Kirkuk is one of Iraq's disputed territories that has been a source of tensions between Baghdad and Erbil governments because they both lay claim the region. Kirkuk, an oil-rich province, has been controversially included in the referendum.

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