KIRKUK, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – The Governor of Kirkuk Najmaldin Karim on Monday stated the Kurdistan Region’s upcoming independence referendum would not affect the social harmony and coexistence in Kirkuk.
The referendum is scheduled for Sep. 25 and will also include Kirkuk Province among other disputed territories between the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and Federal Government of Iraq.
Rumors have been spread on news outlets where some local officials claim the vote would negatively affect the relations between the ethnic and religious groups in the province of Kirkuk.
The diverse province consists of Arabs, Turkmen, and Christians with a Kurdish majority.
While some of the people in Kirkuk have decided to boycott the referendum, most of the ethnic and religious groups have agreed to participate and vote for Kurdistan’s independence.
“The referendum process will take place on the 25th of this month, without affecting the genuine coexistence between the people of Kirkuk,” Karim said during his meeting with the head of Kirkuk local services.
“The coexistence, peace, and cohesion of the population of Kirkuk has been and will continue to be strengthened as well as maintaining stability,” Karim continued.
“The security forces will not be affected by the voices of some who try to exploit the referendum to disrupt the spirit of brotherhood among the population,” he added.
Since the emergence of the Islamic State (IS) in Iraq in June 2014, Peshmerga have been responsible for protecting Kirkuk from the militant group.
An independent Kurdistan has been the long-awaited dream of over 40 million Kurds worldwide. The Kurds have been labeled the largest stateless nation in the globe.
According to a recent poll conducted by the American University in Kurdistan – Dohuk in August 2016, over 84 percent of the people in the Kurdistan Region support independence.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany