Noam Chomsky: Kurdistan referendum is legitimate

Renowned philosopher

LONDON, United Kingdom (Kurdistan 24) – After the Kurdistan’s historic independence referendum on Sep. 25, the eyes of the world are fixated on the Region.

The results and the effects of the referendum will be on the agenda of international powers for a long time.

We asked famous philosopher, linguist, thinker, political activist, historian, and author Noam Chomsky to share his thoughts on the momentous vote.

Chomsky, described as the father of modern linguistics, is one of the most important thinkers of this century and shares some sympathy for the Kurds.

“The referendum in Kurdistan is a legitimate one,” Chomsky noted, adding the vote is “another stage” in the Kurds’ struggle for national rights.

Kurdistan 24: What is your take on the Kurdish independence referendum? How do you see the referendum regarding the right to self-determination being exercised?

Chomsky: In principle, the referendum is legitimate. In fact, Kurds have a legitimate claim to self-determination more generally in the region. Self-determination might take several forms, including varieties of federalism. In fact, such concepts might extend more broadly throughout the complex Middle East region and elsewhere as well.

In real world situations, however, resorting to abstract principles does not suffice. It is prudent, in fact, obligatory to take into consideration the consequences of actions in light of the constellation of forces, both within [the Kurdistan Region]—where there are many issues to be resolved—and in the regional and global context.

K24: Before the referendum, neighboring countries threatened to impose sanctions on the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). How do you think this referendum will impact Kurdistan’s relations with its neighbors?

Chomsky: That remains to be seen. The regional states—including the Baghdad government—have issued strong warnings. It will be necessary to tread carefully to reduce the threat of serious harm, which does exist.

K24: Some people argue the Kurds are finally deciding on their destiny after being long denied their basic rights. Do you agree with this or are they simply being opportunistic as the Turkish president suggested?

Chomsky: There may be a degree of opportunism on the part of some of the actors, but for the Kurdish people in general, the referendum is just another stage in a long struggle for national rights.


Editing by Karzan Sulaivany

(Zerrin Efe conducted the interview from London, UK)