Osman Baydemir, the spokesperson for the Peoples’ Democratic Party in Turkey. Photo: Rudaw TV
ANKARA, Turkey — The spokesperson for the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) in Turkey has said his party has told the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and its president to “know their boundaries” after Devlet Bahçeli made threatening remarks regarding the Kurdistan Region’s independence referendum.
“The perspective of the MHP is racist. The president of the MHP, Bahçeli, spoke about this, we as the spokesperson of the HDP told him to know their boundaries, and that no one has the right to threaten the Kurdish nation and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG),” Osman Baydemir told Rudaw in Ankara on Wednesday.
At a news conference in Ankara last month, MHP President Bahceli expressed that the referendum could lead to war.
“This referendum, for Turkey, could be regarded as a reason for war, if need be,” Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency quoted Bahceli as saying. "It should be known that a possible referendum is a rehearsal for Kurdistan. This referendum is against Turkey and the Turkmens.”
Baydemir, of Turkey’s largest pro-Kurdish party, deemed the comments threatening against Kurds in the four parts of Kurdistan.
“We take this threat to be against 40 million Kurds, and we don’t accept that,” said the HDP spokesman. “As a Kurd, if I was entitled to participate in south Kurdistan’s referendum, I would have carried Kurdistan’s flag, headed to the ballot boxes and voted yes for independence to Kurdistan.”
Baydemir also denounced Bahceli’s comments shortly after they were made.
The majority of Kurdish people live in Turkey. The September 25 independence referendum is being held in the Kurdistan Region, located in northern Iraq.
During a press conference on Tuesday night, Turkey’s Prime Minister Binali Yildirim of the ruling Justice and Development party (AKP) spoke about the referendum, which Ankara has maintained is a “wrong step.”
Yildirim said the referendum will be a “very big mistake” and that the government thinks it is important for the referendum not to be held.
He added that it will create new problems and not benefit the regional countries.
Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu ruled out closing the borders with the Kurdistan Region during his visits last month to Erbil and Baghdad.
The independent referendum commission has estimated that 5.5 million people from the Kurdistan Region, from areas outside of the administration of the KRG claimed by Erbil and Baghdad, and abroad are eligible referendum voters.