PKK leader slams KRG's referendum, says 'Kurds don't need a state'

DAILY SABAH
ISTANBUL
Published 22.06.2017 00:27

The PKK's senior leader, Duran Kalkan, defined the Kurdistan Regional Government's (KRG) referendum decision as "propaganda" and said that "Kurdish people do not need a state."

Speaking to the Kurdish Nerina Azad news outlet, Kalkan said that the idea of an independent Kurdish state was firstly brought by the PKK and he accused the KRG of "trying to discredit the PKK in the eyes of the public."

On June 7, KRG President Masoud Barzani announced that an independence referendum for the semi-autonomous northern Iraqi region would be held on Sept. 25.

With a population of about 5 million, Iraq's Kurdish region already enjoys a high degree of autonomy, including its own parliament and armed forces.

Since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein, relations with the central government in Baghdad have become strained over a range of issues, including the sharing of oil revenues and control of some areas, such as the oil-rich city of Kirkuk.

Kalkan asserted that the referendum decision was not taken with a consensus of Kurdish political parties; instead, it was solely initiated by the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) in northern Iraq.

"KDP can't constitute Kurds' agenda by itself. Also, the situation in southern Kurdistan [northern Iraq] can't separately set all Kurds' agenda. This approach should be kept away, abandoned," he said.

The PKK and the KRG's armed forces, peshmerga, have confronted numerous times in the region before, which are interpreted by many as a struggle for influence. More clashes may be inevitable between them in the wake of the independence referendum.

In the last month, KRG spokesperson Sefin Dizayi said that the semi-autonomous government was ready to take action if threats, made by higher-ups in the PKK, to move the war to the KRG region continue.

Also, KRG authorities have long been voicing their concerns over the PKK's oppression of the Kurdish people, urging the terrorist group to leave its territories, especially in the Sinjar Mountain region.

The PKK leader went on by saying that the Kurdish region is not ready for independence and Kurdish people in fact "do not need a state."

He reminded that the idea of an independent Kurdish state initially was propounded by the PKK. Kalkan also said that, despite the PKK being a movement which strongly supported the "statist paradigm" in the past, it has "corrected its false consciousness" in time.

He added that the Kurdish society already governs itself just like it did via tribes and clans in history, and defined being a state as "a tool of exploitation and suppression."

Purportedly following Marxist-Leninst ideology, the PKK launched its terror campaign in 1984; an estimated 40,000 people in Turkey have died in related violence since.

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