UN Security Council warns against holding Iraqi Kurd vote

Iraqi Kurds gather in the street flying Kurdish flags as they urge people to vote in the upcoming independence referendum in Arbil, the capital of the autonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq, on September 13, 2017. (AFP)
Updated 22 September 2017
0

UN Security Council warns against holding Iraqi Kurd vote

UNITED NATION: The UN Security Council on Thursday warned that a referendum on independence by Iraq’s Kurdistan region was potentially destabilizing, adding its weight to international opposition to the vote.
In a unanimous statement, the 15-member council said the referendum planned for Monday could hinder efforts to help refugees return home and weaken the military campaign against the Daesh group.
The move heightened pressure on Iraqi Kurd leaders to call off the vote after Turkey, Iran and Iraq urged them to abandon the plan that is also opposed by the United States.
Council members “expressed concern over the potentially destabilizing impact of the Kurdistan regional government’s plans to unilaterally hold a referendum next week,” said the statement.
“The planned referendum is scheduled to be held while counter-ISIL (Daesh) operations — in which Kurdish forces have played a critical role — are ongoing,” it added.
The council urged “dialogue and compromise” to address differences between the Iraqi government and the regional authorities.
Iraqi Kurds will vote on September 25 in the non-binding referendum on whether to declare independence in a region that has already been autonomous since the aftermath of the 1991 Gulf War.
The United States has warned it may not be able to help Iraq’s Kurds negotiate a better deal with the Iraqi government if they go ahead with an independence vote.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Sunday urged the Iraqi Kurds to scrap the referendum and offered UN help to negotiate a new political deal between Baghdad and the Kurds.
UN envoy to Iraq, Jan Kubis, told Iraqi Kurdish leader Massud Barzani last week that the United Nations was ready to broker negotiations between the Kurds and Baghdad, according to a document obtained by AFP.
The negotiations would aim to reach a deal within two or three years on the “principles and arrangements” for future relations between Baghdad and the Kurdish region, the document said.
In return, Barzani’s administration would agree to postpone the referendum at least until the end of negotiations.


Turkish opposition accused of insulting Erdogan via cartoons

Updated 12 min 53 sec ago
0

Turkish opposition accused of insulting Erdogan via cartoons

  • Insulting the president is a crime punishable by up to four years in prison in Turkey
  • Erdogan filed close to 2,000 lawsuits against people for alleged insults

ANKARA: Turkey’s state-run news agency says President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has filed complaints against the main opposition party leader and 72 legislators accusing them of insults for posting and sharing a cartoon on social media that depicts him as a variety of different animals.
Anadolu Agency said complaints were filed Wednesday against Kemal Kilicdaroglu, who posted the cartoon on Twitter, and other officials who shared it in support of four university students arrested for holding up a poster of the same caricature during their graduation ceremony.
Insulting the president is a crime punishable by up to four years in prison in Turkey.
Erdogan filed close to 2,000 lawsuits against people for alleged insults, dropping many following a failed military coup in 2016 as a goodwill gesture, but filing many others since.