Turkey’s Foreign Minister, Hakan Fidan, who was visiting Tehran, made the statement during a joint news conference with his Iranian counterpart, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian.
Expressing sadness over the tensions that led to loss of lives in Kirkuk, Fidan emphasized that Kirkuk is the ancestral homeland of Turkmen kin. Turkey called on Iraqi authorities to address the increasing presence of the PKK terror group in Kirkuk.
Fidan underscored the significance of Kirkuk’s peace and stability for Iraq’s overall well-being, viewing Kirkuk as a symbol of peaceful coexistence. He added that Kirkuk, with its rich history, had recently suffered greatly, necessitating the preservation of its delicate social balance, equal representation, and participation for all groups in governance.
Supporting equal representation and participation has long been part of Turkey’s approach in Kirkuk. Fidan reaffirmed Turkey’s commitment to safeguarding the rights and interests of Turkmen groups and opposing the politicization of Turkmen rights.
In Kirkuk, protests erupted due to the closure of a highway linking the city to Erbil by Iraqi Turkmens, who oppose the handover of the Joint Operations Command building to the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP). The protests led to road blockades, a citywide curfew, and several casualties.
Fidan also touched on the strong cultural ties between Turkey and Iran, emphasizing the two nations’ long history of peaceful coexistence. He expressed gratitude to Iran for its support after a devastating earthquake in Turkey and highlighted the importance of bilateral cooperation in addressing regional developments and crises.
During the meeting, border security, counterterrorism efforts, trade, transportation, energy cooperation, regional development projects, and higher education were discussed. Fidan noted Turkey’s concerns about the PKK terror group and discussed measures to increase trade volume.
Turkey also expressed its expectations for cooperation with Syria’s Bashar al-Assad regime to facilitate the dignified return of Syrian refugees to their homes, prevent further refugee influx into Turkey, and enhance counterterrorism cooperation.
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