Kubad Talabani, Kurdish region's Washinton representative, says Ankara and Irbil should resolve their issues, such as terrorism and Kirkuk, face to face, not through the US.
Calling Turks "brothers," Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdish region's Washington representative Kubad Talabani said Kurds and Turks should resolve their issues, such as terrorism and Kirkuk, face to face, not through the US and that his president asked the "regional powers" not to interfere in Iraq's internal affairs.
Resembling Iraq's territorial integrity into a two-way street, Talabani asked, "If Iraq's sovereignty is violated, then why should we be the ones that would continue to protect it?" speaking in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday with a group of Turkish journalists following a conference called "Iraq's future 2007," organized by the German Marshall Fund.
Commenting on remarks from Massoud Barzani that Iraqi Kurds would stir unrest in southeastern Anatolia if Ankara intervenes in the process over determining the fate of Kirkuk, which he claims is part of "Kurdistan," Talabani said, "What President Barzani is asking for is that let's not have regional powers interference in Iraq's internal affairs."
Turkey demands a referendum on Kirkuk's future status, scheduled to be held this year, be postponed, arguing that thousands of Kurds have been moved into the city to change its demographics.
The ethnically volatile city is also home to Arabs and Turkish-speaking Turkmen, who are backed by Ankara.
Turkey worries that Kurdish control of Kirkuk and its oil reserves would embolden what it believes are Kurdish ambitions to break away from Baghdad.
Kurdish independence, Turkey fears, could fuel the separatist insurgency in southeast Turkey, led by the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which is listed as a terrorist group by Ankara, the US and the EU.
Turkey charges that Iraqi Kurds tolerate, and even support, thousands of PKK terrorists who have found refuge in the mountains of northern Iraq.
Upon a question,Talabani that even though he said they are "brothers with Turkey," the PKK continues basing its terrorist separatist activities from northern Iraq and how he reconciles those issues.
In response, Talabani said, "You still have the presence of the PKK inside Turkey. The PKK problem is a problem that emanated from inside Turkey. If we don't sit down and speak to each other as Turks and Kurds we will never be able to resolve the PKK problem, the Kirkuk problem nor our future strategic problems that may lie ahead."
Whether or not they will do something to fight the PKK, Talabani said, "There is always a light at the end of the tunnel. There has to be light at the end of our tunnel. We live in a very difficult neighborhood. And if we get pessimistic, we will fail. We again are constantly extending a hand of friendship to our brothers in Turkey. We want to cooperate with our brothers in Turkey. But we need a reciprocation of that will to cooperate. And we haven't had that up until now."
He added, "We want to maintain good relations and solid relationship with all of our neighbors, including Turkey. ...Hoping through dialogue we can resolve all of our issues. We have extended a hand of friendship to our brothers in Turkey to sit down and talk about these key issues that are on our agendas."
Their requests for meeting with Turkish officials continue to be rejected on grounds that they didn't understand. Kubad Talabani, who is Iraqi President Jelal Talabani's son, also noted the importance of economic relations between Turkey and Iraqi Kurds: "All we seek is a reciprocation of our affection, reciprocation of that brotherly relationship where Turkey continues to help Kurdistan's economic development. Hundreds of Turkish companies have been party to Kurdistan's development. We have seen what a good and solid relationship can do for your economy and for ours."
Source: Today's Zaman
Last Mod: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16