Head of the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) Masoud Barzani did not step back from his decision to hold a referendum on the secession of Iraq’s Kurdish region, which the Iraqi Federal Court declared unconstitutional, despite international opposition.
Although Baghdad, the UN, U.S., Turkey, Iran and Saudi Arabia have all spoken out against the vote, the Erbil administration launched the poll process in Sulaymaniyah, Erbil, Duhok as well as in disputed areas in Kirkuk, Mosul,
Furthermore, the Erbil government has ignored all regional and international suggestions regarding the referendum.
On June 7, Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi described the referendum as "unilateral and unconstitutional" when the Erbil administration set a date for the vote.
"We will take the necessary steps to safeguard the unity of Iraq and safety of the citizens," Abadi said, stressing that the central government will not recognize the vote results.
On August 23, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu met with Barzani and urged him to cancel the referendum, saying Turkey would not accept the "illegitimate" poll.
On September 22, the Turkish National Security Council said Turkey reserves all options arising from bilateral and international agreements if the Kurdish referendum is held.
On September 16, White House spokesperson Sarah Sanders called on KRG to cancel the referendum and hold "serious and sustainable" talks with Baghdad.
Brett McGurk, U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Global Coalition to Defeat Daesh, said the referendum had no legal basis and posed risks.
Right after the KRG took the decision to hold the referendum, the UK Foreign Ministry issued a statement saying that London did not support the regional poll as it posed the risk of increasing instability in the region.
On September 19, UK Defense Secretary Michael Fallon held talks with Masoud Barzani and called on him to postpone the vote.
The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) held a session on September 21 to discuss the Kurdish independence referendum.
In a statement issued after the meeting, the Council warned that the vote could have "a potentially destabilizing impact" on the region and could damage the ongoing fight against the Daesh terrorist group.
Council members "expressed their continuing respect for the sovereignty, territorial integrity, and unity of Iraq", the statement said, calling for resolving all issues between the central Baghdad government and the Erbil administration "through structured dialogue and compromise supported by the international community."
Iran has called on the KRG to abandon the decision to hold the referendum.
"KRG should abandon the referendum decision; if KRG leaves Iraq, Iran will close all border gates and roads connecting both sides," Ali Shamkhani, Secretary-General of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council said.
Saudi Arabia proposed to mediate to resolve problems between Erbil and Baghdad and urged both sides to take a step backward to protect the region from possible troubles.
While Iraq’s central administration, neighboring countries, the U.S. and UN objected to the independence poll, Israel remained the only country that voiced support for the vote.
* Ali Murat Alhas contributed to this report from Ankara.