ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) - The imprisoned co-leader of Turkey's pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), Selahattin Demirtas, this weekend called on all Kurdish movements and their leaders to unite for their common national interests ahead of the Kurdistan Region's upcoming referendum on independence from Iraq.
"The Kurdish people too, like all the peoples of the world, has the right to self-determination on its homeland and only that people is entitled to the discretion on how to use that right," Demirtas said in an article published Saturday on his party's website.
"Every Kurdish leader, starting from the martyred Qazi Muhammad [executed President of the short-lived 1946 Mahabad Republic of Kurdistan] to the immortal Mullah Mustafa Barzani [father of the Kurdistan Region's President Masoud Barzani], from Mr. Abdullah Ocalan [Imprisoned PKK leader] and Mr. Jalal Talabani [former President of Iraq and founder of PUK] to Mr. Masoud Barzani have all struggled for the Kurdish people's freedom," Demirtas noted.
The article Demirtas penned in a maximum security prison in the Turkish city of Edirne accused neighboring states and world powers of colonizing the Kurdish homeland after its partition in the aftermath of the WWI.
"However, the Kurds have managed to enter the 21st century as a people by arising from the ashes thanks to heavy sacrifices and heroic resistance," his article read.
The HDP leader, who the Turkish authorities jailed after his arrest in November 2016, said no Kurdistani movement was against the gaining of independence for the southern portion of their nation via the Sep. 25 vote.
However, he cautioned against disunity and called on President Barzani as well as the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) to reach out to the opposition and reactivate Parliament, which has been shut down since late 2015.
On Friday, the Parliament reconvened and approved the referendum despite the Gorran movement's absence, whose lawmakers refused to participate in the legislative process over its rejection of Barzani's extended tenure as President.
"As Kurdistan marches toward independence, we should be able to discuss and listen to all viewpoints and suggestions meant to forge a robust democracy that the people of Kurdistan deserve without using a vitriolic and insulting rhetoric," Demirtas wrote.
"There is no doubt Mr. Barzani, an honorable Kurdish leader, is moving ahead with the best interests of the Kurdish people in mind," he added, while calling for 'constructive criticism.'
He also called for the creation of a National Congress made up of representatives from all four parts of Greater Kurdistan in Turkey, Iran, Iraq, and Syria in a bid to strengthen steps for wider Kurdish emancipation.
"The belated freedom and independence of the Kurdish people and Kurdistan should be created with a progressive model in this new century. The Kurdish people deserve this and will achieve it," Demirtas noted.
He said Catalonia, which simultaneously with the Kurdistan Region seeks to hold a referendum on Oct. 1 to secede from Spain, was an example worthy of paying attention to for the Kurds as the Catalan people and politicians broadly collaborate.
"In conclusion, the Kurdistan Region and Rojava [Syrian Kurdistan] will witness historic developments in the coming months and years," he said.
Editing by G.H. Renaud