Curfew imposed in Kirkuk before Kurdish independence vote

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al Abadi had a conversation over the phone to discuss a number of issues which also included the now suspended KRG referendum

Kurdish officials pushing the September 25 referendum say there is no need to panic.

On Monday, Iraq's supreme court ordered the suspension of the referendum to examine claims it was unconstitutional.

Baghdad is also angered for the inclusion of Kirkuk in the vote, a contested oil-rich city which lies between Iraq and Kurdistan.

Saudi Minister of State for Gulf Affairs Thamer al-Sabhan on Tuesday praised Kurdish leader Masoud Barzani's "wisdom" in accepting global mediation between Erbil and Baghdad.

He said that Turkey began military exercises near the Habur border crossing point of the Turkey-Iraq border on September 18.

Turkey's prime minister is warning Kurds in Iraq and Syria against efforts to form "artificial" independent states that would threaten its security.

Moreover, the chief commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps' Qods Force, Major General Qassem Soleimani vowed to let al-Hashd Al-Sha'abi loose to confront Iraqi Kurds.

Turkey launches a military exercise in its southeastern border with Iraq. The area contains the Habur border crossing which provides the Kurdish Regional Government with its main access point to the outside world
Turkish military shares new photographs of drills near Iraqi border

Cemil Bayik, one of the leaders of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), was quoted in regional media saying the two officers had been sent to Iraq to assassinate him.

In a statement, the court said the poll, which was convened by regional Kurdish president Masoud Barzani, had been suspended until they could establish if it was constitutional.

"We want the government and parliament of fraternal Azerbaijan to adopt a statement condemning the referendum decision of the Kurdish autonomous region of northern Iraq and stressing that it's unacceptable to associate the future of Kirkuk and other Turkmen regions with the referendum", Salihi added.

Iranian-backed Iraqi Shi'ite militias have threatened to dislodged the peshmerga from Kirkuk should the Kurds persist in holding the vote.

The Turkmen leaders urged the Kurdish autonomous region of northern Iraq to realize that it is doing wrong. A generator and satellite dish could be seen at one location.

Neighbours Turkey and Iran, which have their own sizeable Kurdish populations, are also opposed to the plebiscite.

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim has warned that Turkey will take any necessary steps in response. The standoff has weakened the Turkish lira beyond 3.5 to the dollar for the first time in four weeks.

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