Turkish FM greets meet in Kurdish in north Iraq

Turkish FM greets meet in Kurdish in north Iraq

ARBIL – Cihan News Agency
Turkish FM greets meet in Kurdish in north Iraq

Turkey's foreign minister Ahmet Davutoğlu attended the Sulaimaniyah Forum. AA Photo

Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu on March 4 greeted the attendants of a business conference in northern Iraq in Kurdish, receiving a big round of applause.

Davutoğlu was in the northern Iraqi city of Sulaymaniyah to attend the Sulaimani Forum, dubbed as the Davos of the Middle East, which is organized by the American University of Iraq.

“Rojbaş [Good day],” Davutoğlu said at the start of his speech, receiving a huge round of applause from the audience in the hall. The foreign minister then wished a quick recovery to Iraq’s ailing president, Jalal Talabani, in Kurdish as well. Talabani, a Kurd, is being treated in Germany for a stroke. “We don’t need translation, this is from my heart to yours,” Davutoğlu said.

The top diplomat said Turkey would do its utmost to solve a dispute between the central government in Iraq and the Kurdish administration. For his part, KRG Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani vowed not to take any step back over the dispute and said his administration was not acting unconstitutionally on any matter.

Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari said no one could have dreamed of such a meeting 10 years ago. “Leyla Zana was jailed when she spoke Kurdish in [Turkey’s] Parliament. Today, Foreign Minister Davutoğlu spoke Kurdish in Sulaymaniyah.”

Topics in the forum include Turkey-Iran-Iraq relations, the current situation in Syria, sectarian conflicts in the Middle East, and developments in Iran. Davutoğlu is expected to proceed to Arbil to hold talks with Kurdish officials.

In addition to Zebari and Barzani, Sulaymaniyah Mayor Behroz Muhammed also attended the conference.