Turkish Scholar Ismail Beşikçi to Visit Kurdistan Next Month

19/09/2012 RUDAW By MASHALLAH DAKAK – DIYARBAKIR, Turkey—Well-known Turkish author and scholar Ismail Besikci, has been invited to the Kurdistan Region several times, but he had vowed not to visit until the Kurds were united and independent.

However, Rudaw has learned that Besikci plans to visit the Kurdistan Region next month. During his visit, he will meet with Kurdish President Massoud Barzani, Iraqi President Jalal Talabani and the Kurdistan Region’s Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani. According to the information that Rudaw has obtained, Besikci will also visit Arsalan Bayz, the speaker of the house, and Kawa Mahmoud, the minister of culture. For many years, Besikci was the only non-Kurd in Turkey to speak out and defend the rights of Kurds. He spent 17 years in a Turkish prison for his writings.

Last week, Besikci visited the biggest Kurdish city of Diyarbakir for the first time in 38 years. “I am glad to be in Amed [Diyarbakir] again,” he said. “I used to come here a lot before I went to prison. I have not been here since 1974, the year I was released.”

With the help of several Kurdish businessmen, the Besikci Foundation was established in Turkey last year. “The goal of the foundation is to encourage Kurdish scholars to develop and deepen their research about the Kurds,” he said.  During his visit, Besikci will be accompanied by his colleague and the head of the Besikci Foundation, Ibrahim Gurbuz. A branch of the foundation will be opened in Kurdistan while he is here.    The renowned author has been invited to the Kurdistan Region several times, but turned down the invitations, saying he would only visit an independent Kurdistan. He now seems to believe that the Kurds in Iraqi Kurdistan are independent.