PYD will respect outcome of independence referendum: leader

6 August 2016 – MESOP – The Leader of Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), Salih Muslim, stated on Tuesday that his party will respect the outcome of an independence referendum in Kurdistan Region of Iraq, if it’s held.  “Our principle is that we are looking for a democratic nation, not for a [ethnic] nation state. In Rojava (Syria’s Kurdish region) we don’t look for independence,” Muslim told ARA News.

“But it depends on opinion of Kurdish people over there, if they make a decision, we will respect it,” he said. Muslim added that the time of the nation-state is gone and that in Europe they have spent millions of Euros to remove the borders.  “The most stable countries tried to get rid of the nation state and work towards a federal system, like the United Kingdom and Spain, where you have the issue of Scotland, Ireland and the Basque country,” he added.  “Our idea is not to build a nation state but to establish federalism in Syria including all components,” Muslim stated. “But it will be a secular federalism.”However, both the Syrian regime and the opposition have rejected plans by the Syrian Kurds –announced in March– to create a federal system in northern Syria.

“We are not looking for separation, but Kurdish rights and a democratic Syria. Until now the Assad regime hasn’t recognized us. They should recognize the Kurdish people for any agreement,” Muslim said.

“Also the opposition should do this (recognition of Kurdish rights),” he also said. “There cannot be a democratic Syria if they do not recognize one component of the Syrian society,” he said about both the opposition and the Syrian government.Kurdistan Region President Massoud Barzani last week said that the Iraqi Kurds are in need of their own sovereignty or accept the status quo. “With the aid of His Almighty and the will of the people of the Kurdistan Region, it will become clear to us in the near future as to who would rather trail behind, obeying the orders of others and who would choose sovereignty,” Barzani said. However, so far no date for a referendum has been declared.