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On the independence referendum in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq and disputed territories in 2017


  • Bill Park

    (King's College London, United Kingdom; TOBB-ET University, Ankara, Turkey)

  • Joost Jongerden

    (Sociology and Anthropology of Development, Wageningen University; Asian Platform for Global Sustainability & Transcultural Studies, Kyoto University, the Netherlands)

  • Francis Owtram

    (University of Exeter; the British Library, United Kingdom)

  • Akiko Yoshioka

    (Japanese Institute of Middle Eastern Economies Centre - Institute Energy Economics Japan (JIME-IEEJ), Tokyo, Japan)


On 25th September 2017, the eligible voters of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq were given the opportunity to respond ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to the question, posed in Kurdish, Turkmen, Arabic and Assyrian: “Do you want the Kurdistan Region and the Kurdistani areas outside the administration of the Region to become an independent state?” The aim of this note is to give an empirically focussed account of the independence referendum. The note has been written by four members of a delegation which spent one week in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) with the purpose of observing the referendum. The key point that we draw from these observations is that the referendum and associated aspiration for independence, which potentially could have unified the different political factions in the KRI, has in fact cruelly exposed divisions.

Suggested Citation

  • Bill Park & Joost Jongerden & Francis Owtram & Akiko Yoshioka, 2017. "On the independence referendum in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq and disputed territories in 2017," Kurdish Studies, Transnational Press London, UK, vol. 5(2), pages 199-214, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:mig:ksjrnl:v:5:y:2017:i:2:p:199-214

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    Referendum; Kurdistan; Iraq; 2017; delegation; observations.;


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