KRG Shares the Turk­ish Govern­ment’s Vi­sion

Re­gional Eco­nomic Union and model part­ner­ship in the Mid­dle East

The Kurdish Globe - - NEWS - By Saadula Aqrawi

The Kur­dis­tan Re­gional Govern­ment shares the Turk­ish Govern­ment’s po­lit­i­cal vi­sion, a vi­sion of how to build free­dom and jus­tice in a newly-demo­cratic coun­try in the Mid­dle East. It is ex­traor­di­nar­ily im­por­tant to cre­ate a mod­ern in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity that is re­spect­ful, se­cure and pros­per­ous in which the in­evitable ten­sions be­tween cul­tures are quickly de­fused.

Er­doğan and the AK Party have led Turkey to the apex of its power and glory, and brought a new vi­sion and locus of hope into be­ing, not just for Turkey and the Turk­ish and Kur­dish peo­ples and other eth­nic mi­nori­ties, but for the En­tire Mid­dle East—a vi­sion of jus­tice and a pow­er­ful Turk­ish state .

Er­doğan dreamed of play­ing foot­ball for Fenerbahçe and of be­ing one of the Sul­tans of the Ot­toman Em­pire. In his youth, he played pro­fes­sion­ally for a lo­cal foot­ball club. Fenerbahçe wanted Er­doğan to trans­fer to them, but his fa­ther pre­vented it.

Build­ing jus­tice in a pow­er­ful state of Turkey may in­clude the dream of re­build­ing the Ot­toman Em­pire, the largest em­pire ever cre­ated in the name of Is­lam.

The grandeur of the Ot­toman Sul­tan Qa­nuni Suleiman was ac­knowl­edged even by his en­e­mies, who re­ferred to him as Suleiman the Mag­nif­i­cent. De­spite nu­mer­ous mil­i­tary vic­to­ries and his great suc­cesses in cre­at­ing an ef­fec­tive ad­min­is­tra­tion, Suleiman was all too aware that achiev­ing great­ness for an em­pire was one thing and main­tain­ing it among great pow­ers quite an­other.

Turkey is im­por­tant not just for the Kur­dis­tan re­gion but for the United States and the whole world. I think that this is where the great­est prom­ise of build­ing a stronger Kur­dis­tan Re­gion lies—in bet­ter re­la­tions with Turkey and in recog­ni­tion that Turkey and the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion can build a model part­ner­ship in the Mid­dle East.

The Turk­ish govern­ment has fos­tered very strong po­lit­i­cal and eco­nomic re­la­tions with the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion; in­deed, Turkey is be­gin­ning to con­sider the Kur­dis­tan Re­gional Govern­ment in north­ern Iraq as a unique ally and a ma­jor part­ner in the Mid­dle East.

The Kur­dis­tan Re­gion has signed trade and eco­nomic strate­gic re­la­tions and agree­ments with Turkey in nu­mer­ous sec­tors in­clud­ing se­cu­rity, en­ergy, oil, elec­tric­ity, wa­ter, health, trade, the en­vi­ron­ment, trans­port, hous­ing, con­struc­tion, agri­cul­ture, ed­u­ca­tion and higher ed­u­ca­tion.

In Turkey, Ataturk’s po­lit­i­cal party ad­vo­cated a rad­i­cal brand of na­tion­al­ism that in­cluded state own­er­ship and con­trol of key nat­u­ral re­sources. Pri­vate, in­clud­ing for­eign, in­vest­ment was not al­lowed in de­vel­op­ing and mar­ket­ing such re­sources. As a re­sult, eco­nomic un­der­achieve­ment be­came a key fea­ture of the Turk­ish sys­tem. Cou­pled with an ex­plod­ing pop­u­la­tion, this forced mil­lions of Turks to im­mi­grate to Western Europe, es­pe­cially to West Ger­many, and to the Mid­dle East in search of work.

In less than ten years, the Turk­ish Govern­ment has achieved many record im­prove­ments: in 2004, aver­age in­come in Turkey was less than 20 per­cent of the aver­age in the Euro­pean Union, while in 2014, that fig­ure is closer to 70 per­cent. Dur­ing the same pe­riod, di­rect for­eign in­vest­ment in the Turk­ish econ­omy rose from 3.2 bil­lion US dol­lars to more than 120 bil­lion.

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