Spanish Region Struggling for Independence Rejects Same Right for Kurds

MESOP : CATALONIA CONTRA KURDS & JEWS – After all these journeys over many years  to Catalonia by Remzi Kartal + Zubeyir Aydar

By Alexandra Di Stefano Pironti – RUDAW – BARCELONA, Spain 16-7-2014 –  A thumbs down to Kurdish self-determination by the autonomous Catalonia region’s parliament is drawing criticism from local pro-Kurdish organizations and citizens venting their anger on Facebook.

That is because the Catalans themselves have called for a controversial independence referendum in November to break away from Spain.But as Iraq reels in turmoil and Iraqi Kurds have announced plans for their own independence vote, lawmakers in Catalonia voted last week against a motion backing self-determination for the Kurds and Palestinians, and a referendum for the West Sahara.

The motion had been tabled by GP Mixt (Mixt Group), which is comprised of different leftist forces such as ICV-EUiA, ERC and CUP.But the rejection was possibly thanks to Convergence and Union (CIU), the Catalan center-right governing party that is the largest force in the local parliament and the one behind calling the November referendum, which Madrid has opposed.

Meanwhile, the Catalan Socialist Party abstained from voting for Kurdish self-determination, but was in support of self-rule for Palestinians and a referendum in the Western Sahara.The majority of the MPs also rejected a part of the motion that called on the Catalan government — which has cozy ties with Israel — to review its relations with the Jewish state and to publish all agreements with the Israeli government, companies and institutions.

The vote drew accusations of “inconsistency” by the Spanish media against some parties. Meanwhile, social media commentators blasted MPs who voted against the motion as “hypocrites.”“The Kurdish people are not going to wait until the Catalan MPs decide their future,” Barcelona-based Kurdish musician Gani Mirzo wrote on his Facebook page. “Their opinion counts zero,” he added. “How can they go ahead with this mentality when they have asked for a referendum for themselves next November to seek independence from Spain?”

Catalan Pitus Siles Ribera wrote: “The truth is that I feel ashamed about this news. These people in parliament are hypocrites. Feeling disgust is not enough.”

Dani Roldan, international relations representative of the Barcelona-based Escarre Centre for Ethnic Minorities and Nations (CIEMEN), told Rudaw that his organization had collaborated in preparing the motion over Kurdish self determination.“We believe that is vital for Catalonia’s diplomatic strategy to make alliances with nations without a state.  We don’t believe in the realpolitik of not confronting other states like Iraq or Israel, expecting that in exchange they will support our independence,” Roldan said.

KurdisCat,  a Catalan-language website that is run by a Kurdistan-Catalonia solidarity committee, told Rudaw that the motion had failed because GP Mixt had tried to take advantage of Kurdish sympathies in the Catalan parliament by forcing the Palestinian question into the same bill.“We believe that if the motion had been only about the Kurdish nation it would have been approved,” said Jordi Llopis, the coordinator of KurdisCat.

Early this month, Kurdistan Region President Massoud Barzani asked the Kurdish parliament to fix a date for a referendum on independence.The Kurdistan Region of Iraq, with an estimated population of five million, is comprised of the three provinces of Erbil, Sulaimani and Duhok. It has its own government, parliament, constitution and army. In Spain the CIU, supported by some leftist political parties, wants to ask the 7.5 million Catalans if they want to separate from Spain in a November vote. Madrid’s central government and Spanish MPs have already rejected the official request to hold a referendum, calling it unconstitutional.