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 Turkish PM ends denial of Kurdish existence

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Turkish PM ends denial of Kurdish existence  30.3.2011  

Turkish PM reiterates urgency to recognize Kurds

March 30, 2011

ERBIL-Hewlęr, Kurdistan region 'Iraq', — Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey should give up “traditional policy” of denying Kurds in the country, while he highlighted Turkey’s improving relations with Iraqi Kurds.

The statements by the Turkish senior official came in the sidelines of a visit to Erbil Tuesday where he met with Massoud Barzani, Kurdistan Regional president and a number of other top Kurdish officials.

The PM said in those areas of his country where the majority is Kurdish, “we should give up the traditional policy of denying Kurds.” He stressed during his eight years of power as the PM “I have always rejected that policy.”       

Kurdistan President Massoud Barzani (R) receives Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan at Erbil International Airport, March 29, 2011. Erdogan, the first Turkish premier to visit the autonomous Kurdistan region of Iraq. KRG photo

Despite the statements and some efforts to amend the Turkish constitution recently, it recognizes “one nation, one flag, one language”, and thus sidelines 20 million Kurds and some other ethnic groups in the country.

Erdogan said that Turkish Airlines will launch flights from Istanbul to Erbil in April to serve what he said “our Kurdish brothers” and the rest of Iraq.

He went on saying that Turkey has made many steps forward to promote brotherly relations among all its citizens during the past eight years, referring to the giant projects launched by the Turkish government in those parts of Turkey which are mostly populated by Kurds.

By doing so, he said, Turkey continued to end the denial of Kurdish existence in Turkey.

After landing in Baghdad, delivering a statement in Iraqi parliament and paying a visit to the holy Shia city of Najaf,
www.ekurd.netErdogan arrived in Erbil and participated in the ceremonial for opening Erbil International Airport.

During the ceremonial the PM commended Barzani as well as Barham Salih, current Kurdistan PM, and Nechirvan Barzani, Salih precedent, for supporting Kurdistan’s economic, cultural, and political relations with Turkey.

As another step to improve economic relations with Kurdistan, Erdogan said so far only private companies operated the flights between Kurdistan and Turkey, “but we have decided to also engage Turkish Airlines in the travels.”

The PM also opened the International Bank of Turkey, adding in a near future Turkish Agriculture Bank will also be opened in Erbil, Kurdistan Regional capital.

In the past years Turkey officially does not recognize the Kurdistan region government (KRG) and refuses to meet with its representatives in any official capacity. At that time Ankara feared that direct negotiating with Kurdistan regional government in Iraq's north would be a kind of recognition of Kurdistan as a state.  

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