Iraqi Legislator and Deputy President of the Iraqi Turkmen Front, Hasan Turan, has strongly condemned a recent decision by the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region to establish an election office in the northern oil-rich city of Kirkuk ahead of an independence referendum due this month.
According to Press TV, Turan said on Thursday the decision by the Supreme Board of Elections of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) is illegal and yet another violation of the Iraqi constitution.
“The board can only operate in Erbil, Sulaymaniyah and Dohuk, which are affiliated” with the Kurdistan Regional Government, he added.
Turan noted that punitive measures would be taken against civil servants who would vote in the September 25 referendum.
The senior Iraqi Turkmen politician also warned that the vote would jeopardize Iraq’s unity and solidarity.
“The [Kirkuk Provincial] Council, which is affiliated to [Iraq’s] central government in Baghdad, must move to cancel out the decision to take part in the referendum,” Turan pointed out.
The central government in Baghdad is strongly opposed to the referendum.
In June, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi described as untimely the decision by Barzani to hold the referendum.
Iran and Turkey have also expressed opposition to the vote.
Tehran has underlined the importance of maintaining the integrity and stability of Iraq, insisting that the Kurdistan region is part of the majority Arab state.
Last month, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told the state-run TRT Haber television news network that the Iraqi Kurdistan region’s plans to hold the independence referendum would lead to a “civil war” in Iraq.
Hoshyar Zebari, a close Adviser to the President of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), Massoud Barzani, however, told Reuters on August 12 that Kurdish authorities were determined to hold the referendum irrespective of all objections.