Turkey’s ruling party asks Iraqi Kurds to play constructive role in peace process

ARBIL – Anatolia News Agency – 30.4.2013 – The Kurdistan Regional Government should play a constructive role in the peace process, a senior Turkish government official said yesterday after meeting with the administration’s president.

“There are warm trade, education and cultural ties between Turkey and Iraqi Kurdistan. The brotherhood should not be left as just words. If we are linked with deep historical and cultural bonds, then the requirements should be done,” Justice and Development Party (AKP) deputy head Hüseyin Çelik told a group of reporters in Arbil. “I believe Mr. Masoud Barzani and Mr. Nechirvan Barzani [prime minister of the KRG] will do their parts to extinguish this fire. This is my sincere opinion,” Çelik said, referring to the peace process in Turkey and noting that the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants would leave Turkey and settle in the Kandil Mountains.

Murat Karayılan, a senior leader of the outlawed group, announced last week that it would withdraw from Turkish soil starting May 8. The militants are to be deployed to northern Iraq.Çelik also dismissed speculation regarding his use of the term “Iraqi Kurdistan.” “I don’t have a problem with the wording. In Ottoman times, the region was called Kurdistan on maps. We should overcome these taboos.”