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Erşat Salihi Warns: The Referendum will Inevitably Lead to Civil War
Haber resmi
19/09/2017 - Viewed 592 times

The leader of the Iraqi Turkmen Front and MP from Kirkuk, Erşat Salihi spoke at the meeting entitled “The Future of Iraq and Turkmen towards the Referendum”, held on September 15th at TEPAV. TEPAV’s Regional Studies Political Analyst Hüseyin Raşit Yılmaz moderated the event. Mr. Salihi commented on the referendum planned by the Parliament of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in Northern Iraq on September 25th.

Salihi warned that the referendum on the KRG's independence could lead both to a civil war, and a wider regional conflict. “We urge the Kurds to reconsider their unilateral initiative and we urge them not to postpone the referendum, but to cancel it indefinitely” said Salihi. He stated that Turkmen community is one of the communities most severely affected by ISIS terror. He added Turkmens have never been a military force in Iraq – on the contrary, they put peaceful policies in place and always favored the territorial integrity of Iraq. Now however, they are facing the danger of being expelled from their own land.

According to Erşat Salihi, “If the referendum proceeds, it raises a real possibility for prolonged internal conflict. Not only rival Kurdish groups would clash, but sectarian violence would peak.”

Erşat Salihi indicated that it is inevitable the referendum will trigger a new civil war at a time when ISIS threat level has been significantly reduced and the region is evolving towards peace. He also stated that the Turkmen are facing an existential threat. “Kirkuk was a city where 850 thousand people lived before the US intervention. Now the population of this city is 1 million 850 thousand. The events caused demographic structural changes in the city. Therefore, even if a referendum on Kirkuk takes place, the will of Kirkuk will not be reflected in the polls” said Salihi.

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