Middle East Turkey PM defends raising Kurdistan flag at airport

Turkey PM defends raising Kurdistan flag at airport
The flag of Kurdistan (R) raised along the Iraqi (C) and Turkish flags at Ataturk Airport in Istanbul, Feb. 26, 2017. (Photo: Kurdistan24)

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan24) – Turkey’s Prime Minister Binali Yildirim on Tuesday defended the flying of the Kurdistan flag in Istanbul and Ankara during the Kurdistan Region President Masoud Barzani’s visit to Turkey. 

Harsh criticism against Kurdistan, Peshmerga forces, and Barzani continued to swirl on ultranationalist Turkish media after the President’s visit.

The opposition leader of the far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) Devlet Bahceli called the raising of the Kurdish flag “a disgrace.” 

“So-called Kurdistan’s flag was raised at Ataturk Airport upon Barzani’s visit,” he stated. “It is Iraq’s internal affair when they raise it [alongside] the Iraqi flag in Erbil.”

“But, the fact that the same flag is held in the same regard with the Turkish flag in Turkey is a scandal, it is a disgrace,” Bahceli continued. 

The MHP leader later demanded an answer from Turkish authorities.

Speaking at a weekly convention of his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), Yildirim responded to the criticism.

He explained the Kurdistan Region was internationally recognized and there was “no new diplomatic” treatment by Turkey.

“According to the Constitution, Northern Kurdistan Regional Administration is an autonomous entity. It has a Parliament. It has a Prime Minister, ministers, and a different flag,” Yildirim said in a televised speech.

The phrase “Northern Kurdistan” uttered by Yildirim to refer to the Kurdistan Region denotes east and southeast Turkey among the Kurds.

For years, Turkish officials have called the Kurdistan Region “Northern Iraq,” but official memos currently name it “the Iraqi Kurdish Regional Administration.”


Editing by Karzan Sulaivany