human rights watch

lördag 10 juni 2017

Turkish state threatens partner KDP over referendum

Turkish state threatens partner KDP over referendum
The first reaction to KDP’s referendum decision came from the Turkish state as expected. The Turkish Foreign Ministry’s statement on the issue threatened KDP and said, “We won’t allow for faits accompli” and “It would be a historic mistake”.

The first reaction to KDP Leader Masoûd Barzani deciding on a date for the “independence referendum” came from their “ally” Turkey. The Turkish Foreign Ministry issued a written statement that threatened KDP and said, “it would be a historic mistake”. The Turkish Foreign Ministry’s statement also protested the Kurdistan Region flag in official institutions in Kirkuk and said, “We won’t allow for faits accompli.”
The statement includes the following: “We had shared our views and concerns over the independence referendum the KRG has been planning for a while with the Iraqi government, the KRG and the prominent members of the international society. In this framework, we had stressed that a referendum on independence would not serve the interests of the KRG or Iraq, and that in a time of critical developments in the country, would increase instability and create negative results. With the same understanding, we had stated on the record that we believe the decision by the Kirkuk Provincial Assembly to hang the KRG flag in official buildings in Kirkuk, in an initiative by the Kirkuk Governor, to be an attempt at a fait accompli regarding the status of the province and that we are against it.”
The statement calls the referendum a “grave mistake” and threatens the KDP: “We assess the decision by the KRG leadership that announced an independence referendum to be held on September 25, 2017, against our advice and warnings on the matter, in the framework mentioned above and believe this referendum will be a grave mistake. Preservation of Iraqi territorial integrity and political unity is one of the fundamental principles of Turkey’s Iraq policies. This principle is among the prerequisites for a lasting stability, peace, security and prosperity in the region.”
The statement stresses Iraqi territorial integrity and says: “It is clear that in these extraordinary conditions the Iraqi people are facing, a referendum which also includes regions with disputed status will fall short of reflecting the will of the people. In this regard, instead of harming Iraq’s integrity, methods that will strengthen the unity and integrity of this country and are based on the sharing of authority and power and human-centeredness principle as included in the Iraqi constitution should be brought to the fore and actions should focus on the spirit of consensus, dialogue and inclusion.”
The Turkish state had protested the KRG flag next to the KDP flag in official buildings in Kirkuk, before Iraq did. KDP’s “ally” Turkish President Tayyip Erdoğan had made threats as “Take that flag down, or else the price will be dire.” AKP’s ally in the war against Kurds MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli had hurled insults like, “Barzani will never be a friend for us. He could only be the hide we step on,” utilizing wordplay between the words friend-dost and hide-post. And the KDP had stayed silent, then called for a “Yes” vote in the referendum.
KDP Leader Masoûd Barzani held a meeting with various political parties in Southern Kurdistan in Pirmam on June 7 and announced that the independence referendum will be held on September 25. The Gorran (Change) Movement and the Komele Islamic Party weren’t present in the meeting where it was claimed that the Kurdistan Regional Presidential and Parliamentary elections will be held on November 6, 2017 as well. But Gorran, Komele and other circles point out that the KDP’s true goal is to use the “independence referendum” to win the parliamentary and presidential elections.
The KDP has kept the Southern Kurdistan parliament locked since October 12, 2015. On that day, Gorran member parliamentary speaker Dr. Yusif Mihemed was prevented from entering Hewlêr by the KDP security. Later, 5 Gorran member ministers in the cabinet were thrown out of the cabinet, and the Gorran movement called the events a “coup”.
The Gorran Movement had argued that the KDP was doing this to keep Barzani as the president, even though his term was up. After kicking out 5 Gorran ministers, the KDP had locked the parliament down. Masoûd Barzani has been the de facto president in the two years since.
In the 2013 elections, KDP had 38 seats in the 111 seat parliament of Southern Kurdistan, Gorran had won 24, PUK 18, Yekgirtû Islami 10, Komeleyê Islami had won 6 chairs and the rest belonged to minority quotas.

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