IRBIL, Iraq – The Latest on the Iraqi Kurdish referendum on support for independence from Baghdad and the tensions surrounding the vote (all times local):
Turkey says it doesn't recognize the Iraqi Kurdish region's referendum on support for independence from Baghdad and insists its results will be "null and void."
Turkey's Foreign Ministry released a statement as polls opened in Iraq's Kurdish-run provinces and disputed territories on Monday, with Ankara calling on the international community — and especially regional countries — not to recognize the vote either.
It also urges Iraq Kurdish leaders to abandon "utopic goals," accusing them of endangering peace and stability for Iraq and the whole region. The ministry reiterated that Turkey would take all measures to thwart threats to its national security.
On Saturday, Turkey's parliament met in an extraordinary session to extend a mandate allowing Turkey's military to send troops over its southern border if developments in Iraq and Syria are perceived as national security threats.
Polls have opened in Iraq's Kurdish-run provinces and disputed territories as Iraqi Kurds cast ballots in support for independence from Baghdad in a historic but non-binding vote.
Millions are expected to vote on Monday across the three provinces that make up the Kurdish autonomous region, as well as residents in disputed territories — areas claimed by both Baghdad and the Kurds, including the oil-rich city of Kirkuk.
The vote is being carried out despite mounting regional opposition to the move. The United States has warned the vote will likely destabilize the region amid the fight with the Islamic State group.
Baghdad has also come out strongly against the referendum, demanding on Sunday that all airports and borders crossings in the Kurdish region be handed back to federal government control.