ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – The European Union (EU) should not be “bystanders” but instead “lead by example” and support the Kurdistan Region’s independence referendum, a Member of the European Parliament said on Monday.
Alyn Smith, a Scottish National Party Member of the European Parliament for Scotland, called on the EU to support the people of Kurdistan following their historic referendum.
Smith was speaking at a conference in Glasgow, Scotland where he discussed the Kurds’ right to self-determination and international support for the historic plebiscite.
The SNP MEP spoke about his previous visit to the Kurdistan Region and said the EU “could achieve a lot more than we have in Kurdistan to date.”
Despite Baghdad, Ankara, and Tehran refusing to recognize the legitimacy of the referendum, Smith believes the people of Kurdistan “deserve more support than they’ve had.”
“I think the Kurds have been able to create a relative zone of prosperity, a relative zone of security, in a region that is still teetering in chaos,” he stated.
The Scottish politician encouraged the EU to break its silence and express “more vocal support” for Kurdistan’s independence vote similar to Russia.
“We’ve seen [Russian President] Vladimir Putin be increasingly vocal about what needs to happen in Kurdistan,” Smith explained. “There’s a choice for the EU to make here, and I don’t think we should be bystanders.”
The SNP MEP emphasized the principle of people’s right to self-determination, particularly the people of Kurdistan who have long struggled for independence.
“What we’re talking about is principle; we support the right to self-determination as a principle,” Smith concluded. “There is more that we could be doing.”
The Kurdistan Region held an independence referendum on Sep. 25 where an overwhelming 92.7 percent voted for secession from Iraq.
Following the vote, Iraq and neighboring countries, including the US, rejected the results leading to Baghdad enforcing sanctions and threatening military action against Kurdistan.
Editing by Ava Homa