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News Update
27-02-05, 17:05
Turkey Accepts a Federal Structure in Iraq
By Salih Boztas
Published: Sunday 27, 2005
zaman.com

Turkey has officially accepted the establishment of a federal structure in Iraq. Officials including Turkey's Special Envoy to Iraq, the General Staff, National Intelligence Branch and representatives Foreign Affairs Ministry have accepted the federalism article, the most important article in the Iraqi Temporary Administrative Law that until today had not officially been accepted. An official statement released today says: "We respect the decisions of the Iraqis. We will not object if the majority of Iraqis demand federalism."

The visit by top-level department representatives to Northern Iraq contained crucial messages in the context of the present conditions about foreign policy. Ankara related its views on Kerkuk (Kirkuk) and the region in a visit to the area. The visit was made following the Iraqi national election. Although 'goodwill' was expressed, the concerns were not overcome. A letter from the Turkish Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan is seen as a signal that Turkey is ready to cooperate with Iraqi leaders.

The committee visited Celal Talabani with concrete messages. During the visit, officials said for the first time that a federal structure in Iraq would be recognized. Committee members conveyed that the federalism should not damage the integrity of Iraq and it should not lead to the disintegration of the country in the future. Turkey had not yet recognized the Iraqi Temporary Administrative Law, which concludes that Iraq will be made up of federal regions. The delegate asked the Kurd administrators to 'avoid sudden movements on Kirkuk'. Talabani was congratulated on his proposal as a candidate for the Iraqi Presidency.

Dwelling on the democratic structure of Turkey during the meeting, Talabani asked for continued support for the reconstruction of Iraq. Suggesting that the people of Kirkuk should decide on their future, Talabani said: "I had proposed the Brussels model. I think that the best solution for Kirkuk people can be found with their own decisions. We will not allow any discrimination among those living in Kirkuk." It is expected that the talks between the Turkish and Kurd officials will continue about this issue. Reassuring Turkey about the territorial integrity of Iraq, Talabani said his Iraqi identity would appear after he became president. "Iraq's territorial integrity will be more in favor of the Kurds. The Kurds can play a more active role in an integrated Iraq. There are some tendencies for Independent Kurdistan, but I believe that I will overcome these as our influence increases. I was a Kurdish Iraqi, now I will be an Iraqi Kurd," Talabani explained.