Kurdish factions in Turkey hold workshop on Kurdistan Region independence
DIYARBAKIR, Turkey (Kurdistan 24) – Several Kurdish parties and factions in Turkey held a workshop on Sunday in the city of Diyarbakir to discuss the prospects of the Kurdistan Region’s independence from neighboring Iraq.
Present at the meeting were representatives from the Kurdistan Democratic Party - North (KDP-Bakur), Kurdistan Democratic Party - Turkey (KDP-T), Kurdistan Socialist Party (PSK), Kurdistan Freedom Party (PAK), Freedom and Socialism Party (OSP), and Freedom Movement (Azadi).
The minority groups, none of which holds any parliamentary representation or municipal governance in Turkey, voiced support for the Region’s decision to hold a referendum in September.
The leader of the center-right PAK, Mustafa Ozcelik, told a Kurdistan 24 reporter his party wanted to raise awareness among the Kurds in Turkey about the process their brethren in Iraq would go through.
“Primarily, we need to inform the people in the North,” Ozcelik said, referring to the Kurdish provinces of Turkey by their place in the Greater Kurdistan.
Following a meeting with President Masoud Barzani in early June, Kurdistan’s leading parties announced the Region would hold an independence referendum on Sep. 25.
“The sentiment about statehood will help reinforce our national consciousness,” he said.
KDP-T leader Mehmet Emin Kardas argued Kurdish secession from Iraq would, despite pronouncements to the opposite, contribute to political stability in Turkey.
The Turkish government is notably wary of any similar demands by some 20 million Kurds at home.
Ankara remains opposed to the Kurdistan Region’s secession from Iraq with strong-worded rejections by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Prime Minister, and Foreign Ministry.
Sertac Bucak, the leader of the PDK-T, said the reason they were organizing the event was to inform the international community Kurds in Turkey were backing the Region’s independence initiative.
Turkey’s largest pro-Kurdish party, the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) that won 59 seats in the Parliament in general elections two years ago, was not present at the meeting.
However, they had already declared support for the upcoming referendum.
On Friday, the HDP released another statement on Kurdish independence saying the decision to go to a referendum “is democratic and historically legitimate given peoples’ right to self-determination.”
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany
(Hasan Kosen of Kurdistan 24’s Diyarbakir bureau followed the event)