ANKARA, Turkey (Kurdistan 24) – After a meeting on Wednesday, pro-Kurdish political parties in Turkey continued to express their open support for the Kurdistan Region’s independence referendum from Iraq on Sep. 25.
Leaders of the relatively small Kurdistan Socialist Party (PSK), Kurdistan Democratic Party - North (PDK-Bakur), Kurdistan Freedom Party (PAK), Freedom and Socialism Party (OSP), and Azadi Movement sat down with officials from the largest pro-Kurdish party, the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), in Ankara.
“Self-determination is a fundamental right entitled to all peoples, and its use is as legitimate as a baby’s right to mother’s milk,” HDP’s Spokesperson Osman Baydemir told reporters after the meeting.
“We, as the HDP and people of the North [Kurdistan], are ready to support in whatever means necessary our brethren in the South [Kurdistan] in their bid to attain self-determination,” Baydemir said, using geopolitical designations Kurds employ to refer to the Turkish and Iraqi parts of their divided homeland.
Mesut Tek, the leader of the PSK, said the Kurdish parties in Turkey continued to back the Region’s referendum no matter what, a Kurdistan 24 correspondent in Ankara reported.
The Turkish government and its far-right allies have at times used fiery rhetoric, including a call for war by the latter, in their rejection of the referendum since early June when Kurdistan President Masoud Barzani and the Region’s leading parties announced the decision to go to the ballot box.
“Wherever we go, we see there is growing support for the referendum,” stated the PAK leader Mustafa Ozcelik who, along with other party heads, has formed a platform to promote the Kurdish independence.
Over the weekend, the HDP’s imprisoned co-leader Selahattin Demirtas said he would stand by any decision the people of the Kurdistan Region made.
So far, only one pro-Kurdish party in Turkey, the Democratic Regions Party (DBP), has voiced objection to the prospects of Kurdistan’s statehood on the grounds it would be a “nation-state,” a concept that party rejects.
“We, as a Middle Eastern people, demand to live free with our culture and language,” Baydemir said.
“Kurdish people’s quest for those rights does not mean suppressing others’ rights,” he added. “It is not enmity toward the Turks, Arabs, and Persians.”
The HDP, however, urged the Kurdistan Region’s divided political actors to reactivate the suspended regional parliament.
On Tuesday, President Barzani’s ruling Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), and the opposition Goran Movement agreed on the move.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany
(Kurdistan 24 Ankara bureau’s Nevin Diri contributed to this report)