Turkmens should work for unity: Gül

Turkmens should work for unity: Gül

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Turkmens should work for unity: Gül

DHA Photo

Iraq’s Turkmens should not only work to protect the rights of their community but also for the unity of Iraq, Turkish President Abdullah Gül has said.

Gül met yesterday with Erşat Salihi, the leader of the Turkmen Front party, expressing Turkey’s desire to maintain close ties with all ethnic and religious groups in Iraq.

“I believe that while defending the rights of the Turkmens in the best possible way, [Salihi] will make contributions also to the fraternity and peaceful co-habitation in Iraq between Sunnis, Shiites, Kurds, Turkmens and Arabs,” Gül said.

Salihi said all of Iraq’s neighbors should adopt the same policy of equal treatment of the country’s communities, but added that it “is our natural right to be a bit closer” to Turkey.

Alarmed over a wave of assassinations and abductions targeting their community, Iraqi Turkmen leaders have recently appealed to Turkey for support, saying Turkmens in the ethnically-mixed oil-rich city of Kirkuk were particularly demoralized.

Also yesterday, Gül received Iraqi Parliament Speaker Osama al-Nujaifi after the visiting official held talks with his Turkish counterpart, Cemil Çiçek.

Çiçek said Iraq needed to stop the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) from using its northern regions as a shelter and a base for attacks on Turkey.

Çiçek also lent support to a proposal from Nujaifi for a four-way meeting in Baghdad between the parliament speakers of Turkey, Iraq, Iran and Saudi Arabia to discuss regional tensions.