Turkey emphasizes Iraq’s territorial integrity amid calls for Kurdish independence
aqis walk alongside market stalls beneath the city's ancient citadel where the flag of Kurdistan (green, white and red stripes overlaid with a yellow sun) flaps, in Kirkuk, June 25.Turkey’s top security board has reiterated Ankara’s long-standing policy of protecting the territorial integrity and political unity at a moment where calls for Kurdish independence are increasing due to the growing unrest in the oil-rich country.
“It is noted that our support for the Iraqi people for the protection of the country’s territorial integrity and political unity will continue,” read the statement issued following the bi-monthly National Security Council (MGK) meeting late June 26.
The statement came on the same day when Turkish officials held lengthy meetings with Nechirvan Barzani, prime minister of Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), and nephew of Massoud Barzani, president of the KRG. Massoud Barzani recently has said “there was a new reality” in Iraq and the people of Kurdistan have the right to determine their fate, implying the declaration of an independent Kurdish state is on their agenda.
Having convened under the leadership of President Abdullah Gül and with the participation of senior government and military officials, the MGK discussed the reflections of violent activities that have the tendency to turn into a sectarian-based conflict in the entire region.
The MGK also reviewed the state of Turkmens in Iraq who had to flee their homes following the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) offensive toward Mosul, Telafer and other nearby cities where Turkmens and Kurds are the majority.
Additionally, the board reviewed the efforts carried out for the release of the 80 Turkish citizens who have been kept by ISIL militants since June 10.