Turkmen parties in KRG to boycott independence referendum

DAILY SABAH
ANKARA
Published 10.09.2017 22:31

Turkmen political parties in the Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) issued a statement announcing that Turkmens will not join the referendum on Sept. 25 as the decision to hold the referendum is "unconstitutional." Iraqi Turkmens stated in the written statement that Turkmens refuse to participate in the referendum, which was determined in the absence of Turkmens and Arabs on Aug. 29, as the decision is "unconstitutional." Turkmen political parties underlined that Turkmens will reject the outcome of the referendum and called on all Turkmens to boycott the referendum.

The statement also underlined that Kirkuk's future would only be determined by dialogue not by oppression and emphasized that putting a single-sided decision into practice will fail in all cases. Turkmen parties called on the KRG President Masoud Barzani, Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani and the parliamentary speaker to perform their duties in a manner that preserves Iraq's unity, integrity, independence and sovereignty. It is stated that the Iraqi Kurdish Government should rather focus on fighting terrorism and liberating Havice, a town in northern Iraq's Kirkuk, from Daesh. The statement bears the signatures of the Iraqi Turkmen Front, Turkmen Party, Iraqi Turkmen Justice Party, Turkmen Decision Party, Turkmen Justice Party, Turkmen Fidelity Party, Iraqi Turkmen Islamic Unity Party and Turkmen Nationalist Party.

Meanwhile, Russian political scientist Aleksandr Dugin commented on the referendum decision, saying that holding a referendum, which is opposed by Turkey, Iran and the Iraqi central government, will be "a dangerous move." He stated that the referendum will drum up Iraq's downfall and added that the referendum will increase ethnic separatist movements in Iraq, adding that it will mean "The disintegration of Kurds legitimate war."

Dugin also pointed to the U.S.'s role in the region, saying that the U.S. is using Kurds as a tool to devastate Turkey, Iraq, Iran, and Syria. He also said that the U.S. makes use of Kurds to occupy the region and added that the U.S. will devastate the region. "This is the greater Middle East initiative," he said.

In June, KRG President Barzani announced that they would hold a referendum on independence from Baghdad on Sept. 25. The head of the Iraqi Turkmen front Ershad Salihi said the independence referendum in Iraqi Kurdistan that is planned to be held on Sept. 25 would not benefit any group in the region. Salihi said in August that they do not accept that the upcoming referendum by the KRG be held in regions where Turkmens constitute the majority. He said earlier in June "The upcoming KRG referendum that got a negative reaction from both regional and local actors would benefit nobody. This referendum will lead the country to new chaos no matter what."

Ankara has opposed the independence vote, calling it a "grave mistake" that would "result in undesired results" for regional peace and security. "An independence referendum would only worsen the situation in the country, which is already experiencing a lot of problems. God forbid, it could even lead the country to civil war," Foreign Minister Çavuşoğlu said on Aug. 16. Presidential spokesman İbrahim Kalın said on Aug.15 "The main reason why we are against this referendum is to protect the political and territorial integrity of Iraq."

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