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How Israel's support is swaying Kurdish sentiment ahead of referendum

Turkey’s Kurds may have divergent views on Israeli backing for the referendum in Iraqi Kurdistan, but their support for the independence bid remains robust.
A man reads a copy of the magazine "Israel-Kurd" at a street in Arbil, 310 km (190 miles) north of Baghdad August 16, 2009. REUTERS/Azad Lashkari (IRAQ SOCIETY) - GM1E58H06K201
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DIYARBAKIR, Turkey — Seated in the shade of Diyarbakir’s ancient city walls, a group of elderly Kurds animatedly discuss the independence referendum that affects their kin in neighboring Iraq. The mood of the conversation seems to sour when the topic moves to Israel, the sole country to have openly endorsed the Kurdish bid for statehood. The men, whose demeanor reveals they are pious Muslims, are clearly unhappy with Israel’s support, a sentiment that is widespread in conservative Kurdish quarters.

“No good will come from anything if Israel has a finger in the pie. If [Kurdish statehood] is going to happen with Israel’s support, then best it doesn’t happen at all,” 65-year-old Mustafa Sayar told Al-Monitor, as the others in the group approved.

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