Countering criticisms from nationalist circles in Turkey over his recent use of the word “Kurdistan” to refer to the semi-autonomous Kurdish region in northern Iraq, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan recalled that the founder of the Turkish Republic, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, also used the word.
“Was Mustafa Kemal also a separatist? Were the deputies of the time who used the word Kurdistan also separatists?” Erdogan asked on Tuesday during a parliamentary group meeting of his Justice and Development Party (AK Party).
He was responding to criticisms voiced mainly by the opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) over his visit to the predominantly Kurdish province of Diyarbakır over the weekend.
Erdogan visited Diyarbakır in a bid to boost his government's settlement process, which aims to end the decades-old Kurdish conflict in the Southeast. He held a meeting with the leader of northern Iraq's autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), Massoud Barzani, during the visit and addressed locals alongside the Kurdish leader. In his speech, Erdoğan used the word “Kurdistan” to refer to the northern part of Iraq.
Since the establishment of the KRG, Turkish officials have preferred to use the term “Kurdish government” for the regional government. The use of the term “Kurdistan” by a top Turkish official while addressing the people of Diyarbakır was deemed an important step by many both for relations with Arbil as well as the settlement process.
CihanLast Mod: 19 Kasım 2013, 17:32