ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – Turkish authorities in the capital Ankara on Saturday banned a conference covering the Kurdistan Region’s upcoming referendum on secession from Iraq.
The conference would also address the future of the Region’s relations with Turkey, according to an earlier announcement by the Kurdish Bas newspaper which was sponsoring the event.
In a press release on its website, the Ankara governor’s office labeled the conference at a hotel as “so-called.”
It also said the conference was not to proceed on the grounds the “terrorist” group could exploit it as propaganda and use it as a means of mobilizing masses.
Turkish authorities often refer to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) when falling short of naming a “terror” group.
The central government-deposed Mayor of the Mardin Province Ahmet Turk, pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) lawmaker Kadri Yildirim, Turkish sociologist Ismail Besikci, former Speaker of the Kurdistan Parliament and the current commander of Peshmerga forces in the Kirkuk-Germiyan area Kemal Kerkuki were to speak at the now banned conference.
The Sep. 25 referendum has attracted ire of a Turkish government fearing its some 20-million-strong Kurdish population would feel emboldened in similar demands of constitutional recognition and self-rule.
Officials also claimed there was intelligence that speakers could become the target of “life-threatening” attacks because of its “provocative” nature to the public order.
The statement also added if the conference went on, the attendees would face prosecution by the laws of a country-wide state of emergency in place since last year’s failed military coup against the government.
Last month, Ankara-appointed governors in the Kurdish provinces of Van and Batman outlawed at least two other meetings meant to promote the Kurdistan referendum.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany