Turkey made a direct appeal to the president of the Iraqi Kurdish region on Friday, urging him to cancel an independence referendum planned for Monday and saying that Ankara viewed the vote as illegal and unacceptable.
The possibility of a military operation in Iraq has surfaced since the Turkish army conducted a drill near the Iraqi border. It also emphasized the importance of Iraq and Syria's territorial integrity and said "separatism based on ethnicity" poses a threat to both Turkey and regional stability.
Iraqi Kurdish leader Massud Barzani on Saturday delayed a scheduled news conference on the referendum as global pressure mounts for a postponement. Barzani told the crowd they would look the proposal over, but if their "objective is to just delay the referendum, the referendum will not be postponed".
The Turkish parliament convened for a debate and vote on extending a mandate that authorizes Turkish troop deployments to Iraq and Syria, and Prime Minister Binali Yildirim alluded to possible military moves.
The non-binding referendum will see Iraqis in KRG-controlled areas - and in a handful of territories disputed between Erbil and Baghdad - vote on whether or not to declare full independence from Iraq.
Students Occupy University of Barcelona to Demand Independence Vote
Polls consistently show the region's inhabitants favor holding a referendum but are roughly evenly divided over independence from Spain.
Kylie Jenner's First Baby Is Reportedly Due in February!
Meanwhile, according to TMZ sources, Travis is also spilling the big news to his buddies that he's going to become a dad. There's about to be a new Kardashian-Jenner in the world-but this time moms Kim or Kourtney aren't involved.
'Inhumane act of hostility' - North Korea responds to United Nations sanctions
Several Pentagon officials say Mattis was not signaling that tactical nuclear weapons are likely to be placed in South Korea. Trump will first meet Moon, then have lunch with Moon and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, then meet separately with Abe.
The country has the largest Kurdish population in the region and is already battling a Kurdish insurgency. US State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said the price would be high "for all Iraqis, including Kurds".
The Iraq Bill was passed in 2007 to combat outlawed Kurdish militants in northern Iraq to prevent attacks in Turkey.
Iraq's central government has even threatened to intervene militarily in the event that the vote leads to violence.
Addressing a UN Security Council statement asking Kurdistan to postpone the vote out of fear it may affect the war on ISIS and the return of one million or displaced Iraqis who are now in the Kurdistan Region, Barzani said Kurdistan's coordination with Iraqi and global forces will continue.
It allows military action in Turkey's two southern neighbours against Islamic State (IS) extremists and other groups deemed by Ankara to be terror organisations.
More than 5.2 million people are registered to vote. Ankara and Tehran are anxious that the vote could revive the separatist aspirations of their own Kurdish populations.