AKP vice-chair: Irbil can be new Dubai

The vice-chairman of Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), Huseyin Celik, has said that the northern Iraqi city of Irbil could be the next Dubai.

AKP vice-chair: Irbil can be new Dubai

World Bulletin / News Desk

The northern Iraqi city of Irbil can be the region's new Dubai with its favourable geography, vice chairman of Turkey's ruling party told AA on Friday.

In an exclusive interview with Anadolu Agency, Vice Chairman of the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) Huseyin Celik emphasized the importance of northern Iraq for Turkey.

"70 percent of our trade with Iraq is executed via the north," said Celik, also emphasizing "the deep historical and cultural bonds" between the Turkish people and the Kurdish community in the north of Iraq.

Celik said that Irbil, the capital of the Kurdish administration in northern Iraq, has the potential to be a new Dubai.

"Irbil can be the Dubai of the region. Its future prospects look even brighter than those of Dubai. Dubai is a city limited by desert and sea. Irbil's geography makes it more advantageous."

Celik ranked Kurds among the main actors in Middle Eastern politics, emphasizing the significance of Turkey's relations with the Kurdish administration in Iraq.

"If peace and stability are to be attained in this geography, none of these actors should be ignored. In this respect, the relations between Turkey and the Kurdish community in the north of Iraq are of immense significance."

Celik also touched on the anticipated weekend program in the southeastern Turkish province of Diyarbakir which will bring Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan together with Kurdish leader Masoud Barzani.

"Barzani's arrival in Diyarbakir after the invitation by Prime Minister Erdogan contains meaningful messages in terms of peace in the region and Turkey's own internal 'solution process'," Celik said in calling on "certain groups" not to form prejudiced judgements on the visit.

Celik commented on the planned concert performance by two famous Kurdish singers, Ibrahim Tatlises and Siwan Perwer, by saying the joint performance makes the program even more significant.

"Both Tatlises and Perwer are offsprings of these lands. They deliver good messages contributing to peace. But certain groups are trying to silence them. Tatlises shared several tweets in support of [Turkey's] solution process, but some people threatened him instantly."

Celik also touched on recent developments in Turkey-Iraq relations, stressing that having good relations with Baghdad does not prevent Turkey from forming good relations with Kurds in Iraq's north.

"Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu's two-day visit to Baghdad contributed to improving relations. But smoothing out some disputes with the central government does not mean that we will have crossed out relations with the north."

Güncelleme Tarihi: 15 Kasım 2013, 15:51