In September 2017, a dispute emerged over the Kurdistan Region of Iraq’s desire to hold a referendum on its independence from Iraq. The Kurds believed they had the right to self-determination under international law. The central government and the Iraqi Supreme Court asserted that there was no constitutional basis for a referendum. Furthermore, Kurdish independence in Iraq poses a possible threat to neighbour states who have Kurdish minorities.
The right to self-determination in a post-colonial context is a very ambiguous concept and it is unclear whether modern law authorizes external self-determination in the form of unilateral secession from the mother state. The secession theory has emerged when people under special circumstances believe their right has been denied and there are no other means for remedy but secession. The purpose of this dissertation is to examine whether the Kurds in Iraq have the right to self-determination, and if the law of self-determination allows secession as a remedy for people. The other part of the dissertation discusses the effect of Iraqi Kurdish self-determination on collective security in the region and the possible hostilities in light of the current Turkish military operations in Iraq and Syria.

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