KOBANE – The Syrian Kurdish leader Salih Muslim told ARA News on Tuesday that they will respect the outcome of an independence referendum in Iraqi Kurdistan, if it’s held.
“Our principles is that we are looking for a democratic nation, not for a [ethnic] nation state. In Rojava [Syria’s Kurdish region we don’t look for independence,” the co-head of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) said.
Unlike Masoud Barzani’s Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), the PYD does not believe in creating an independent Kurdish state, and says it’s better to work for a Syrian federalism that includes various ethnic groups.
Nevertheless, the PYD co-chair said that they will respect any outcome of a referendum expected to be held in Iraq regarding the independence project of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).
“But it depends on opinion of Kurdish people over there, if they make a decision, we will respect it,” he said.
In an interview with ARA News, the PYD leader said that the time of the nation-state is gone and that in Europe they have spent millions of Euros to remove the borders.
“The most stable countries tried to get rid of the nation state and work towards a federal system, like the United Kingdom and Spain, where you have the issue of Scotland, Ireland and the Basque country,” he added.
“Our idea is not to build a nation state but to establish federalism in Syria including all components,” Muslim stated. “But it will be a secular federalism.”
However, both the Syrian regime and the opposition have rejected plans by the Syrian Kurds –announced in March– to create a federal system in northern Syria.
“We are not looking for separation, but Kurdish rights and a democratic Syria. Until now the Assad regime hasn’t recognised us. They should recognize the Kurdish people for any agreement,” Muslim said.
“Also the opposition should do this [recognition of Kurdish rights],” the Syrian Kurdish leader told ARA News. “There cannot be a democratic Syria if they do not recognize one component of the Syrian society,” he said about both the opposition and the Syrian government.
The Iraqi Kurdish President Masoud Barzani last week said that the Iraqi Kurds are in need of their own sovereignty or accept the status quo.
“With the aid of His Almighty and the will of the people of the Kurdistan Region, it will become clear to us in the near future as to who would rather trail behind, obeying the orders of others and who would choose sovereignty,” Barzani said.
However, so far no date for a referendum has been declared.
Other Syrian Kurdish parties, rivals to the PYD, such as the Kurdistan Democratic Party of Syria (KDP-S) heavily backed the referendum, and believes in a more Kurdish nationalist federal region, than the PYD.
“We believe in mr. Barzani and that this is the suitable time to make a referendum,” Mohammed Ismail, a senior KDP-S leader told ARA News.
While the PYD believes in a borderless multi-cultural federalism, the Barzani-backed Kurdish National Council in Syria (KNC) wants an ethnic-based federal Kurdish region, similar to the Iraqi Kurdistan region.
Interview by: Wladimir van Wilgenburg
Source: ARA News