A group of politicians, journalists and activists launched a "NO" campaign in Sulaymaniyah, a city in northern Iraq, yesterday, against the upcoming independence referendum of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) that will take place on Sept. 25.
Speaking at a press conference, "NO for the Referendum" movement's spokesperson Reabun Maruf said that "beginning from today, the NO campaign is officially launched"
"This referendum is not a step towards a just and a democratic state but on the contrary, it is a very dangerous and historical mistake. Referendum would increase the discharge of those purposes as well as the division of the country. Not only will it not contribute to the cause of our public, but it would also result in the loss of both international and regional support," Maruf said while also highlighting that the referendum does not coincide with the advantages of the KRG.
Maruf further said that they demanded the delay of the referendum, suggesting that if a more appropriate environment can be provided, the referendum may take place.
Calling out to the public of the KRG, Maruf said that they should also support the NO campaign for the benefit of the future generations and to prevent possible threats.
Last month, Şasivar Abdulvahid, who is the owner of the NRT TV, announced that they will launch a NO campaign for the referendum.
In June, KRG President Masoud Barzani announced that they would hold a referendum on independence from Baghdad on Sept. 25.
Turkey has opposed the independence vote, saying that would be a "grave mistake" that would "result in undesired results" for regional peace and security.
Last month, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley expressed concerns on the planned referendum, claiming that it could cause "a distraction from urgent priorities." Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi also stated that the upcoming referendum of the KRG is "not constitutional."