ERBIL, Kurdistan (K24) – The Kurdistan Region’s Turkmen minority support holding a referendum on independence. Kurdistan is the homeland for Turkmen and it is our right to decide on our future, A Turkmen leader says.
The Turkmen minority, who have five seats in the 111-seat parliament of the Kurdistan Region Government (KRG), support independence because they consider Kurdistan as their homeland and a referendum is a democratic method to practice the right of self-determination in deciding their future, leader of the Turkmen Development Party, Muhammed Elkhani, told K24.
“This is not just an idea that only Turkmen political parties support, but Turkmens, Christians, and other minorities in the Kurdistan Region support holding a referendum on Kurdistan independence,” Elkhani says.
Elkhani says that the Islamic State attacks ethnic and religious minorities in Iraq and Syria and the Kurdistan Region can maintain coexistence and protect its minorities.
Balen Abdulla, secretary for the Kurdistan Toiler’s Party who recently met President Masoud Barzani, told K24 that, “Political parties will hold more serious meetings on independence in the new year.”
In order for Turkmens and other minorities from the “disputed territories” to support the independence referendum, their specific role has to be taken into consideration within the political process and the Region’s leadership must assure Turkmens in Kirkuk, Tuz Khurmatu, and other areas that their rights will be guaranteed, Elkhani added.
On December 22, 2015 Kurdistan Region President Masoud Barzani directed his own party, the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), to start discussions on preparations for an independence referendum with other political parties in the Kurdistan Region.