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'More Than One Kurdish State' May Emerge, Iraqi Official Predicts

Kurds may end up creating a number of independent states as parts of the nation living in Turkey, Iran and Syria have their own features and identify themselves as distinct people, the governor of an Iraqi governorate said.

The governor of the northern Iraqi province of Kirkuk, Najmaldin Karim, said in an interview with Sputnik that Kurds may create several independent states like the Arabs did when they established the Arab League, which comprises over 20 states.

President of Iraqi Kurdistan Masoud Barzani announced on June 7 his intention to hold a referendum on independence of the autonomous region from Iraq on September 25, a decision which has been criticized by Baghdad. Following the announcement, authorities of the Kurdish-controlled Kirkuk province decided to take part in the referendum.

"Each part of Kurdistan has its own features. Kurds in Turkey, Iran, Syria determine themselves what they want. There are 22 Arab countries and we may have more than one Kurdish state," Karim said.

He pointed out that the province of Kirkuk is an inherent part of Iraqi Kurdistan and has a right to participate in the referendum on the region's independence.

The Kurds, making up about 20 percent of the Iraqi population, have been seeking self-governance for decades. In 2005, Iraq's Constitution recognized Kurdistan as an autonomous region, run by the Kurdistan Regional Government, therefore making Iraqi Kurdistan the only autonomous region of the country.

Kurds, who have never had their own state, are dispersed across Syria, Iraq and Turkey, where they are largest ethnic minority. A portion of the Kurdish population also lives in Iran.

The Turkish government has long struggled to prevent the Kurds form gaining indepednence. Erdogan said during the latest G20 summit in Hamburg that Ankara will not allow establishment of a Kurdish state in southern Turkey.


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