Time to mend Turkey-Kurdistan Region ties: AKP lawmaker

Contrary to statements from the Turkish government, Ensarioglu alleged that there was ground for a new relationship between Ankara and Erbil.
author_image Ari Khalidi

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – A lawmaker from Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) Galip Ensarioglu on Friday said Ankara's firm rejection of Kurdistan Region’s September referendum on independence "was not to turn into an enmity."

"We have deep-rooted relations with [Kurdistan Region]. That is to say; these ties are to remain. There is also cooperation between Turkey and the Kurdish Administration of Northern Iraq. We have to develop that," Ensarioglu told Kurdistan 24 in an interview in Diyarbakir.

Ensarioglu who often does not shy away from voicing his dissident views within President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's AKP said during times of turmoil and upheaval in the Middle East Ankara and Erbil needed each other.

Aside from vigorously opposing Kurdistan's almost 93 percent votes for statehood, Erdogan and his government also sided with the Iraqi army and Iranian-backed sectarian militias that captured the Kurdish-majority city of Kirkuk and other areas from Peshmerga forces last month.

Ensarioglu was a lone voice in his party during the run-up to the September 25 referendum, arguing that Ankara should respect Kurds' right to self-determination and Kirkuk's annexation to a future Kurdistan state.

"The position of the Kurdistan Regional Government is crucial for us. What happened has happened. Mending ties will be beneficial for both sides. We have to sit down and solve our problems," he said.

The AKP lawmaker for his native Diyarbakir stated that Kurds on both sides of the Turkey-Iraq border were close to each other in blood, culture, tribal and commercial relations.

Contrary to statements from the government which has called on Iraqi authorities to capture the Kurdistan Region-controlled border with Turkey, Ensariogl alleged that there was ground for a new relationship between Ankara and Erbil.

Kurdistan's Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani who was invested with new powers after the end of President Masoud Barzani's tenure this month said his administration was looking forward to holding talks with Turkey.


Editing by Sam A.

(Mahir Yuksel spoke with MP Galip Ensarioglu in Diyarbakir.)