Planned referendum divides our people, should be postponed, President of KRG assembly says

DAILY SABAH
Published 22.09.2017 22:50
Updated 22.09.2017 22:57
Screengrab from BBC interview
Screengrab from BBC interview

The Kurdistan Regional Government's (KRG) planned independence referendum has divided the people and should be postponed, President of the KRG assembly Yusuf Muhammad told BBC in an interview published on Friday.

Saying that he does not consider the decision to hold a referendum to secede from Iraq is right, he added: "As the president of the assembly, I can frankly say that the planned referendum has divided our people. Because this decision has not been taken by all political sides." .

Muhammad also said that the international community has to be in communication with the central government in Baghdad.

According to the assembly president, the reason for the crisis lies behind the fact that the ruling Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) is reluctant to have to leave its place to other political entities.

"If we were to be completely independent, I would desire that. But if our independence is to be shadowed by Iran, Turkey or Iraq, we would be better off as an autonomous region," he concluded.

Amid heated discussions concerning the independence referendum by the Iraqi Kurdish Regional Government (KRG), which has failed to attain international support and which is opposed by Turkey, Iraq, Iran, the U.S. and the European Union, the economic aspect of the post-referendum period also occupies the agenda of the executive branch.

The Turkish Parliament will convene on Saturday, Sept. 23 for an extraordinary session to discuss the extension of the military mandate for Iraq and Syria. The parliament is expected to extend the mandate from Oct. 30 to Oct. 30, 2018, as Turkey's three main parties previously voiced their support for the extension.

If the KRG becomes independent from Iraq, Turkey will have no border with Iraq, a clear violation of the Ankara Treaty, which is still in effect and was signed in 1926 between Turkey, Iraq and the United Kingdom. The treaty clearly states the border line between Turkey and Iraq, and prohibits any attempt to alter it.

"Each of the High Contracting Parties accepts as definitive and inviolable the frontier line fixed by article 1 and undertakes to make no attempt to alter it," the treaty says in the fifth article.

Should the treaty be violated by the KRG, Turkey will have the natural right stemming from the fifth article to take any measures necessary, including a military mandate.

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