Peshmerga ministry condemns Turkish defence minister’s denial of Kurdistan

The Iraqi Kurdish Ministry of Peshmerga issued a sharp rebuke of Turkey’s defence minister after he flatly denied the existence of Kurdistan, Kurdish-outlet Rudaw English reported on Sunday.

In a Facebook post, the Peshmerga ministry wrote that Hulusi Akars comments were "surprising" given his high rank within the Turkish government and his experience with Iraqi Kurdistan in particular where Turkey has good relations with the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in Erbil, Iraq.
“The mentality of denying a nation or its geography has always been the source of problems and does not lead to anything good,” the ministry said. "If he has any doubts about the existence of the geography of Kurdistan, let him throw a look at the documents and history of the Ottoman state, then he will know whether Kurdistan exists or not.”
The remarks in question came from an exchange on Wednesday during discussions in the Turkish parliament over the defence ministry budget.
During the negotiations, a deputy from the pro-Kurdish People's Democratic Party (HDP) questioned Akar about reports about reports of chemical weapons being deployed in Iraqi Kurdistan, prompting an interruption from the minister.
"There is no Kurdistan in Turkey or elsewhere," said Akar. Asked by the deputy where Iraqi Kurdistan exists, he responded "No."
The invocation of “Kurdistan” has not always been a controversial subject with even President Recep Tayyip Erdogan using the term in 2013 during short-lived peace talks with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) that year.
However, individuals have been arrested or suspended from their positions in recent weeks for using the term.
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