September 10, 2017 Sunday
SULAIMANI — Thirteen Arab and Turkmen political parties in the city of Kirkuk issued a statement on Sunday (September 10) expressing their opposition to the referendum on the independence of Kurdistan, just two weeks ahead of the vote.
A plan by Kurdish authorities towards an independent state does not comply with the Iraqi constitution and that risks the country’s unity, the statement read.
The Arab political parties said a recent session held by the Kirkuk Provincial Council to include the city in the independence referendum lacked legal legitimacy as it was boycotted by Arab and Turkmen sides.
“The decision [to include Kirkuk in the referendum] is in the extension of the autocracy that is still being implemented in Kirkuk and surrounding areas since 2003,” the statement continued.
The move to declare a Kurdish independent state will hinder effort to dislodge Islamic State (ISIS) militants, the Arab political parties said, calling on the three Iraqi presidencies not to allow the referendum to take place in Kirkuk.
A total of 22 members of the Kirkuk Provincial Council voted in favor of Kirkuk’s involvement in the referendum. Turkmen and Arab blocs, however, boycotted the session.
The Kurdistan Region declared on June 7 a plan to hold a referendum on the region’s independence this year on September 25. The announcement came following a meeting between the region’s political parties, not including the Gorran and Kurdistan Islamic Group (KIG).