Kurds do not need a state: PKK leader

Duran Kalkan alleged a September referendum on the Kurdistan Region's secession from Iraq was for "propaganda purposes."
author_image Ari Khalidi

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan24) – A top military commander of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) on Tuesday alleged a September referendum on the Kurdistan Region’s secession from Iraq was for “propaganda purposes.”

Duran Kalkan, a member of the executive council of the PKK and one of the group’s founders, told the Europe-based Kurdish language News Channel TV that statehood was not “everything.”

He added the Kurdish national cause was not a problem of statehood.

“Kurds do not need a state,” said Kalkan, an ethnic Turk who represents PKK’s hardline leftist wing, on the grounds states were “apparatus of oppression and exploitation.”

The Kurdistan Region’s leading parties including the ruling Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), the opposition Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), and minority groups announced Sep. 25 as the referendum date after a meeting with President Masoud Barzani in early June.

The main opposition Gorran movement did not attend the meeting because of its stance on President Barzani’s presidency and its ministers’ 2015 expulsion from the government.

Kalkan criticized the move “as KDP agenda.”

“It seems like some powers make the KDP [to go to a referendum] to threaten Turkey and Iran. Someone out there is telling KDP to do so,” he alleged, without further elaborating.

Both Iran and Turkey have objected the Region’s attempts toward independence for fear of similar demands by their respective Kurdish populations.

Earlier last week, the military co-leader of the PKK Cemil Bayik said he supported the referendum.

“The referendum is a democratic right, and no one should stand against it,” Bayik said, adding his reservations about its success.


Editing by Karzan Sulaivany