Syrian Kurds support independence of Iraqi Kurdistan

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Kurdish protesters. File photo: Mustafa Khayat

ARA News

Senior Syrian Kurdish officials on Wednesday said they support the independence referendum in Iraqi Kurdistan region, scheduled on 25 September this year.

In an exclusive interview with ARA News, Saud Malla, the head of the KDP-backed Kurdistan Democratic Party of Syria (KDP-S), the leading party within the Kurdish National Council (KNC), said that holding a referendum on independence is a legitimate right of the Iraqi Kurds.

“This is the right of South Kurdistan [Iraqi Kurdistan] and the right of the people. We support them and we congratulate them. Every Kurd will say yes,” Malla said.

“This is not only good for South Kurdistan, but for Rojava, Bakur, Basur, and for all parts of Kurdistan. Every nation has the right to be independent. And if the people want federalism, autonomy, or confederalism, this is our right,” he said.

“We say yes for an independent Kurdistan and we congratulate our peers there,” the KDP-S head told ARA News.

Also, Mohammed Ismail, a leading member in the KDP-S, said that holding a referendum is a good step.

“This is a good step and important card for the Iraqi Kurds and international card if they vote yes. This doesn’t mean that after the referendum the Iraqi Kurds will immediately declare independence, but it’s a card that can be used [in negotiations with Baghdad],” Ismail said in an interview with ARA News.

“This referendum is important for all parts of Kurdistan, and it’s important to work for a Kurdish state,” he added.

However, the Syrian Kurdish politician expected that Turkey and Iran will not be happy, but he stressed that it would be good if the two major parties of Iraqi Kurdistan –the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) and the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP)– would work more together and unite in such a challenging phase.

Furthermore, senior Kurdish officials of the PKK-backed Democratic Union Party (PYD)in Syria said they are not against an independence referendum in Iraqi Kurdistan, despite of their disagreements with the KDP.

Hediya Yousef, co-president of the PYD-led Rojava-Northern Syria Federal Region, said on Tuesday that the Iraqi Kurds have a legal right to determine their own destiny.

“This is an internal decision related to the Iraqi constitution and a domestic issue and it’s basically considered a legal right for the Kurds within the Kurdistan region to determine their own destiny,” the Syrian Kurdish official said in an interview with the Vedeng news website.

Moreover, senior PKK officials expressed their indirect support to the referendum, while Turkey and Iran expressed their opposition.

Cemil Bayik, a founding member of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and co-head of the PKK-linked executive council of the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK), said that no one should stand against a Kurdish independence referendum and that it’s a democratic right. However, he said that the referendum might not be successful, referring to internal disputes in the Kurdistan region of Iraq.

The president of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), Masoud Barzani, announced September 25 as a referendum day on Kurdish independence.

On Tuesday, the KDP and PUK reached a breakthrough on reactivating the Kurdistan parliament before the independence referendum.

The Kurdish parliament has not convened since October 2015 when its speaker, a member of the opposition Gorran movement, was barred by the KDP from entering Erbil following violent protest against the KDP.

“We in KDP suggested new ideas to reactivate Parliament even with Gorran Presidency, unity for referendum and an independent Kurdistan,” Hemin Hawrami, a senior assistant to President Masoud Barzani, said on Tuesday.

Reporting by: Wladimir van Wilgenburg | Source: ARA News

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