Professor Josep Alay believes nations like Catalonia and Kurdistan which seek independence need to "keep very firm" on the path forward. Rudaw's Hiwa Jamal interviewed Alay on Monday in Erbil after millions in the Kurdistan Region participated in a referendum asking them if they want to separate from Baghdad.
Alay had spent the day visiting several voting stations, including Sheikhan, which is in the disputed or Kurdistani areas claimed by both the central and regional governments. Sheikhan was the main voting center in Nineveh Province because it was under the protection of Kurdish Peshmerga.
Alay works at the University of Barcelona and specializes in the history of Asia. He explains, "Everything went very peacefully, democratically. And it was a model for any other model of self-determination which might take place in the world."
The Catalan nation will hold its own binding vote on independence from Madrid on October 1. Many in Catalonia have said they are watching to see how the world reacts to the Kurdish process, which Alay called "an ideal process of self-determination through this referendum."