- Title: Referendum campaign kicks off as Arab, Turkmen express scepticism
- Date: 7th September 2017
- Summary: KIRKUK, IRAQ (SEPTEMBER 6, 2017) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF WORKERS STATUE ON TRAFFIC ROUNDABOUT PEOPLE WALKING, TRAFFIC DRIVING PAST STATUE VARIOUS OF GROUP OF YOUNG MEN HANGING POSTER READING (Kurdish) "YES, TO KURDISTAN INDEPENDENCE" (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) OMAR HUSSEIN HASSAN, CIVIL ACTIVIST AND TURKMEN RESIDENT OF KIRKUK, SAYING: "Throughout history Kirkuk has been a Turkmen city though there are other components who coexisted in it including Kurds, Arabs and Christians. Involving it in this ethnic project would probably cause tension and conflict, God forbid. Therefore, we call for keeping Kirkuk and other disputed areas away from such projects" VARIOUS OF YOUNG MEN PUTTING UP POSTERS (SOUNDBITE) (Kurdish) MUSTAFA NASRUALDDIN, MEMBER OF KURDISTAN DEMOCRATIC PARTY AND KURDISH RESIDENT OF KIRKUK, SAYING: "Kurdish people have been living in this city for years and have made sacrifices for Kirkuk. We have been hoping for a solution to the Kirkuk problem since 2007 in accordance with the Iraqi constitution, which we voted for, but the central government has not solved the problem. Different pretexts and excuses were given, and after the fall of Mosul city in 2014 peshmerga forces entered the city to protect it. It is our right to vote for the future of the city on September 25." TRAFFIC IN STREET OF KIRKUK POSTER ON WALL READING (Turkish) "SEPTEMBER 25 REFERENDUM IS AN IMPOSITION OF THE WILL OF SPECIFIC POLITICAL PARTIES ON THE WILL OF ALL THE PEOPLE" POSTER ON WALL READING (Arabic) "SEPTEMBER 25 REFERENDUM IS AN IMPOSITION OF THE WILL OF SPECIFIC POLITICAL PARTIES ON THE WILL OF ALL THE PEOPLE" (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) ISMAEIL AL-HADIDI, ARAB RESIDENT AND FORMER DEPUTY GOVERNOR OF KIRKUK, SAYING: "We are with the Kurdish people's right to self-determination, but the situation in Kirkuk is a different issue. Any project needs to be agreed on by the Arabs, Turkmen, Kurds and Christian populations of the city. No project can succeed without agreement. Therefore, we need an open and genuine dialogue among these parties to make any project in Kirkuk a success." DOHUK, IRAQ (SEPTEMBER 6, 2017) (REUTERS) BUSY TRAFFIC IN STREET OF KURDISH CITY OF DOHUK MAN DISTRIBUTES LEAFLETS TO PEOPLE IN CARS MAN GIVING MAN ON MOTORCYCLE KURDISH FLAG MAN GIVING DRIVER OF CAR KURDISH FLAG TEENAGER DISTRIBUTING LEAFLETS TO CHILDREN IN STREET (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) MEHDI MAJEED, KURDISH RESIDENT OF DOHUK, SAYING: "We will take part in the referendum on September 25. It is the right of the Kurds who have been defending themselves for 50 years to have their own state. They call for their right to have their own state." YOUNG MAN HANDING OVER LEAFLETS TO MOTORISTS GROUP OF YOUNG MEN STANDING IN STREET WITH KURDISH FLAGS GROUP OF MEN ON TOP OF CAR PARK UNVEILING POSTER SHOWING MAP OF GREATER KURDISTAN MEN DISPLAYING MAP (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) MAHMOUD YOUNIS, KURDISH RESIDENT OF DOHUK, SAYING: "We will vote for the independence of Kurdistan on September 25 to end oppression and injustice. We will announce a Kurdish state, a strong state." VARIOUS OF PEOPLE WALKING ALONG STREET DECORATED WITH KURDISH FLAGS
- Embargoed: 21st September 2017 12:32
- Keywords: Iraq Kirkuk Dohuk Spetember 25 referendum Turkmen Arab scepticism
- Location: KIRKUK AND DOHUK, IRAQ
- City: KIRKUK AND DOHUK, IRAQ
- Country: Iraq
- Topics: Government/Politics,Elections/Voting
- Reuters ID: LVA0016XLLGLJ
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Referendum campaigning has begun in Iraq's Kurdish cities and the disputed oil-producing region of Kirkuk.
In the ethnically mixed region of Kirkuk, which is claimed by both the central government in Baghdad and the autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), young Kurdish people put up posters in the streets saying "Yes to Kurdish Independence".
The oil-producing region will vote in a referendum on Kurdish independence on September 25, after the majority of the provincial council voted in favour of taking part, a move that could increase tension with Arab and Turkmen residents.
In contrast to the mood in Kirkuk, an atmosphere of jubilation prevailed in the Kurdish northern city of Dohuk, where a group of young people wearing shirts with the map of the so-called "Greater Kurdistan" distributed Kurdish flags and leaflets to motorists, and streets were decorated with Kurdish flags.
The United States and Western nations fear the referendum could lead to conflicts with Baghdad and neighbouring Turkey and Iran, which host sizeable Kurdish populations, diverting attention from the fight against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria.
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