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1.7 Million Iraqi Kurds Sign Petition Asking UN for Autonomy Vote

More than 1.7 million Iraqi Kurds have signed a petition calling for a referendum on whether northern Iraq should become an independent Kurdish state.

A spokesman for the Referendum Movement of Kurdistan says the petition has been presented to the United Nations and the Iraqi government. Baghdad has ruled out a separate Kurdish state, and has not commented on the petition.

Neighboring Turkey also has a large Kurdish minority, and is strongly opposed to independence moves by Iraqi Kurds for fear it could encourage unrest inside Turkey.

Ankara has warned repeatedly it is prepared to act militarily, if necessary, to prevent the formation of a separate Kurdish state.