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Turkey: Kurds

Volume 488: debated on Tuesday 3 March 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with his (a) Turkish and (b) Iraqi counterpart on the situation of Kurdish people in (i) Turkey and (ii) Iraq in the last 12 months. (259997)

Iraq’s and in particular the Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) relationship with Turkey has greatly improved over recent months and continues to progress positively. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has raised with Turkish Foreign Minister Mr. Babacan the issues faced by the Kurdish population in Turkey’s south-east in the context of its fight against terrorism. We have strongly encouraged an improvement in dialogue between Turkey and the KRG authorities to reach a co-ordinated approach to address the complex socio-economic issues of Turkey’s south-east region. The Turkish Government has announced a comprehensive package to address these.

During his recent visit to Iraq and on previous meetings with the Iraqi leadership, my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary also discussed the continuing efforts of reconciliation among the various communities within Iraq, including the Kurdish population. We continue to encourage both Arab and Kurdish leadership in Iraq to overcome their differences and compromise on issues of national importance.