The Kurdistan Regional Government in Northern Iraq staged an independence referendum yesterday. The government, which represents the region’s ethnic Kurds, says it’s been waiting for this opportunity for over a century. They’re convinced that Monday’s referendum on independence will come out with a resounding yes vote. In addition to Iraq, a large number of Kurds also live in Iran and Turkey. But within the last couple of hours of yesterday’s vote, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan blamed Iraqi Kurdistan’s leader, Masoud Barzani, for sowing instability in the region.
In response to the vote, the Iraqi Parliament in Baghdad called on the prime minister to send the army into areas which are disputed. The Kurds say northern Iraq should be recognized as part of Kurdistan, and the Government disagrees. And there are also signs that Shia militia groups allied to the government could get involved. The BBC’s Paul Moss was on the ground in Iraq, and found out what’s happened with the independence movement.