MESOP : ANOTHER GREAT KDP ILLUSION / Independent Kurdistan: ‘We Expect Russia to Support Our Referendum’
Middle East – 21:03 10.03.2016(updated 21:07 10.03.2016) SPUTNIK NEWS –
Member of the Politburo of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) of the Kurdish autonomy in northern Iraq, Ali Avni, spoke to Sputnik in an exclusive interview about the Kurds’ plans to hold a referendum for the creation of an independent Kurdistan. Erdogan’s Nightmare of United Kurdistan Fueling Turkey’s ‘Misguided Policies’
“Throughout its history, the Kurds are constantly facing infringement on their rights. According to the Treaty of Lausanne, Kurdish territory was divided into four parts, with the result of which for the past century they have been forced to live without their own state, waging a constant struggle to defend their national identity, defending the right to speak in their mother tongue.”
“This difficult period of struggle for survival lasted for a long time but it is coming to an end now. The Kurds will no longer allow anyone to trample on their rights. They no longer want to live under the sovereignty of other countries and other peoples,” the politician explained.
There are forces that do not want the formation of an independent Kurdistan to happen. These countries are Iran, Iraq, Syria and Turkey. The Kurds have never attacked any country or infringed upon the rights of anyone.
“This year we will hold a referendum on the independence of Kurdistan, currently the required arrangements are being made. We are convinced that our people want to establish an independent Kurdish state. According to our estimates, this event is already just around the corner. We believe that the Arabs, Turkmen and Iranians are our brothers. They are our neighbors, with whom we do not want to quarrel. We advocate for an independent Kurdistan through peaceful dialogue instead of bloodshed, hatred and warfare,” Avni told Sputnik.
Avni stressed that Kurds are waiting for support on the matter of holding a referendum from many countries, primarily the US and Russia.
“Throughout history, Russia has demonstrated a welcoming, friendly attitude towards the Kurdish people. At a time when in the Kurdish region, Kurdish literature and culture was banned, in Russia the biggest Kurdish writers and poets were free to create. Russia has supported and contributed to the development of the culture of the Kurdish people. Many Kurds have been educated in Russia. We hope that Russia will support us in an effort to hold a referendum and will assist in the creation of an independent Kurdistan.”Talking about the economic crisis that Kurds are experiencing at the moment, the politician said that there are a number of reasons behind that.
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“The price of oil fell. In addition to oil, we do not have other significant sources of income. For example, agriculture in our region is not adjusted adequately. We must recognize that our economic system has serious shortcomings and problems. In addition, the war with Daesh had a very negative impact on our economy. A significant part of the budget is spent on military action against jihadists.”He further noted that the embargo imposed by the Iraqi government is another cause of this crisis. Iraq is required to allocate 17% of the country’s budget to the Kurdish region. “In practice this is not happening. We do not receive any payments. From 2013 to date, 17% of the established budget, allocations from the Iraqi government have amounted to less than 10%.”
Avni said that, “Government autonomy of Iraqi Kurdistan is taking a number of measures to combat the economic crisis. It is planned to significantly cut costs and develop agricultural production and tourism. We will try to attract investors to the region.”
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