Knyaz Hasanov: In Case of a United Vote on the Referendum, the Formation of an Independent Kurdish State Will Be Possible (EXCLUSIVE)
"Armedia" IAA presents an exclusive interview with Knyaz Hasanov, Member of the RA Parliament and Chairman of the Kurdish National Council in Armenia" NGO, on holding a referendum by the leadership of Iraqi Kurdistan on September 25.
- Mr. Hasanov, the leadership of Iraqi Kurdistan has recently announced about its intention to hold a referendum with the question "Do you want Independent Kurdistan"? What is the position of the Kurdish community in Armenia on this referendum?
- The Kurdish community, not only in Armenia, but also in the whole world, is united on the question of an independent Kurdish state. Nearly 50 million Kurds in the world do not have a state yet. Just about 15 years ago, when Saddam Hussein's government was overthrown by the United States, Kurdish autonomy was created within Iraq. By acquiring autonomy, Iraqi Kurdistan was able to maintain its army, Peshmerga, in order to secure its protection from outside, including the recent threats from the ‘’Islamic State’’terrorist group.
We all stand for a referendum to be held on September 25 and to form a Kurdish state. We are hopeful that the referendum will determine that Iraqi Kurdistan is ready to go for independence. At the same time, I would like to mention that there is a question of the status of Kirkuk town (the overwhelming majority of Kurds live in this city). Kirkuk is a matter of conflict between the Iraqi central government and Iraqi Kurdistan. The Kurds expect this issue to be resolved.
Nevertheless, in this context it should also be taken into consideration that Iraqi Kurdistan is surrounded by enemy states which do not want an independent Kurdish state, such as Turkey, for example. There are also states that favor the establishment of a Kurdish state. These countries, for example, include Israel. There are states that do not express a clear position. At different levels from the United States, different opinions are heard: one time they declare that an independent Kurdish state should be created, another time it is still early for holding a referendum. In Russia, there were also different opinions on different levels. Some argue that Iraq's territorial integrity should not be violated, and others are for the establishment of an independent Kurdish state.
In such a situation it is very difficult to say that an independent Kurdish state will be created these days. Enemy states propagandize among Kurds that they should not participate in the referendum. They do their utmost to cancel the referendum. At the same time, if the Iraqi Kurds get united and vote, then I think that the establishment of an independent Kurdish state will be quite possible.
- Do you know if the Iraqi Kurdistan leadership turned to the Kurdish community in other countries, including in Armenia, for any assistance?
- It is important for the leaders of Iraqi Kurdistan today to consider the opinion of Kurds, Kurdish communities in all the places, as well as their any support and engagement.
Of course, the position of Armenian state is also very important to us. The fact that Armenia has its Consulate General in Iraqi Kurdistan is also a manifestation of certain position.
I do not doubt that the Armenian people wish that an independent state of Iraqi Kurdistan is created. I explain this by the friendship that exists between our two peoples. There are many examples. When Saddam Hussein's government was overthrown, and terrorism spread in Baghdad, Armenians fled to Iraqi Kurdistan, where the leadership and people provided them with everything. There are more than 4,000 Armenians in Iraqi Kurdistan today and an Armenian was elected as a member of the Kurdish Parliament. He visited Armenia two months ago and I did not miss the opportunity to meet him. I am in my turn very proud to be elected as a member of the National Assembly of the Republic of Armenia.
- Is the Kurdish community in Armenia planning to participate in the referendum in any format?
- We provide moral support. We are in touch with Kurdish organizations in different parts of the world and we all call on the Iraqi Kurds to unite. Today there are some political parties in Iraqi Kurdistan that are against each other, there are several parties that do not want to participate in this referendum.
We sincerely hope that this referendum will be held to form an independent state, and we will know that we have our own state despite of the fact we live there or not.
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