HDP spokesperson Osman Baydemir speaking at a Ramadan event in Batman on Sunday.
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – The spokesperson for Turkey’s pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) offered its congratulations and support to the Kurdistan Region as it prepares to hold a referendum on independence later this year, saying that it is the right of Kurds to hold the vote.
“I say it very clearly, whatever the rights of Turks, Persians, and Arab nations are, the Kurds, as an ancient nation in this geographic region, have the same rights, no more or less,” said Osman Baydemir, speaking at a Ramadan event in Batman province on Sunday.
“Our brothers in South Kurdistan along with the parliament, political parties, and with their political will – whatever they decide, our duty is to pay respect and support,” Baydemir said, referring to the Kurdistan Region as the southern part of greater Kurdistan that encompasses Kurdish areas in Turkey, Iran, Iraq, and Syria.
HDP’s support for the referendum is in opposition to the Turkish government’s stance. The Turkish Foreign Ministry said on Friday that the decision to hold an independence referendum is a “grave mistake” and against Turkey's Iraq policy that seeks the preservation of the territorial integrity of that country.
Baydemir criticized Ankara’s response, saying “Ankara’s message, like always, is bitterness.”
On June 7, high-ranking representatives of the majority of the political parties within the parliament and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) joined the prime minister and the deputy prime minister, and the president and deputy president of the Kurdistan High Electoral Commission, in a meeting presided over by President Masoud Barzani.
The meeting's attendants unanimously agreed to set September 25, 2017 as the date for the referendum in the Kurdistan Region and Kurdistani areas that came under the KRG’s control during the war against ISIS and are considered disputed by the central Iraqi government.