February 17, 2017

Iranian Kurdistan: PDKI Supports Pan-Kurdish Solidarity But Argues Respect for Regional Differences

Photo courtesy of Ninara @flickr.com

Although not personally attending the conference organised by representatives from the four parts of greater Kurdistan in Moscow, Mr Mustafa Hijri, head of the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan (PDKI), expressed his party’s commitment to the unity of the Kurdish people in an official message. At the same time, he underlined the distinct differences in political approaches to establish self-determination, insisting that any Kurdish organisation must be allowed to engage in direct talks with their “occupying country”, while making sure that this approach does not jeopardize the rights of other Kurds.

Below is an article published by the RUDAW:

Representatives from the four parts of greater Kurdistan came together to take part in a Kurdish conference in Moscow, discussing the future of the nation in the new Middle East in light of the war against ISIS both in Iraq and Syria, where Kurdish forces have made significant gains against the extremist militants. 

Izzat Sabir, from the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), and Sherko Hama Amin, from the Gorran Movement, both members of the Kurdistan Region parliament, attended the conference.

Asya Abdullah, co-chair of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), the ruling party in Rojava, and Osman Baydemir and Dilek Ocalan, two MPs from the People’s Democratic Party (HDP) in Turkey also attended the conference titled “The war and new structure of the Middle East.”

Sabir told Rudaw that the conference is a message to world powers about the future of Kurdish lands, emphasizing the unity of Kurds in the face of the fast changing map of the Middle East. 

“The Kurdish nation has to regroup, has to be united and to be one among themselves, so that a new Sykes-Picot agreement, which followed the first World War, is not repeated,” he said in reference to the Anglo-French treaty that drew the borders that divvied up Kurdish lands into Iraq, Iran, Syria, and Turkey.

“The more the Kurdish nation and the parties are united, the easier the chances would be to achieve their rights,” he argued. “I give a real example for this. The Kurdish Peshmerga was deployed to Kobane with a decision from the parliament of Kurdistan and took part in the liberation of the city with fellow guerillas against ISIS. And the same way, the guerrillas were supportive and helped the Kurdish Peshmerga in the liberation of Shingal, and protecting Kirkuk, and other areas. Therefore, the Kurdish nation, the guerillas, the Peshmerga and the Kurdish parties, the more they are united, the easier the chances would be to achieve their rights.”

Russia, which is now a key player in the region, has to understand that the Kurdish Peshmerga and the guerrillas are number one allies against extremism, Sabir said, and it is in the interests of both the Kurds and Moscow to work together in the new Middle East.

Mustafa Hijri, the head of the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan (PDKI or HDKA), who could not attend the conference, sent a message to the attendees, reaffirming that “the Kurds are one, and Kurdistan is one,” despite the fact that they are divided among different countries in the Middle East. 

Hijri reminded the conference participants that each part of Kurdistan has its peculiarities and therefore the differences in methods have to be respected by fellow Kurdish parties in other parts of Kurdistan.

He explained that it is permissible for Kurdish parties to work with what he called the occupation countries, namely Iraq, Turkey, Syria and Iran, so long as it does not mean that they do so against their fellow Kurds. 

No representatives of the Kurdistan Region’s powerful ruling Democratic Party of Kurdistan (KDP) headed by Masoud Barzani, with whom the PKK and the PYD have uneasy relations, attended the conference.

The conference coincided with the anniversary of the arrest of Abdullah Ocalan, the founder of the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK), which has run an insurgency against the Turkish state since the 1980s. 

Ocalan is serving a life sentence on charges of terrorism since his 1999 capture in Kenya by Turkish agents.