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    Cuneyt Ulsever: Bush receives "President Barzani" at the White House

    Hürriyet Haber
    27.10.2005 - 11:47 | Son Güncelleme: 27.10.2005 - 11:47

    Two visits of extreme importance to Turkey are happening this week in Washington, DC:

    1) The President of the Northern Cypriot Turkish Republic, Mehmet Ali Talat, will be received officially by the US on Friday. This will mark the first time a president of Northern Cyprus has been welcomed in an official capacity in the US.
     
    2) Earlier this week, Mesud Barzani was welcomed to the White House as the "President of the Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Authority." Barzani wore his traditional "peshmerge" outfit to the White House ceremony.
     
    The fact that these two invitations came on the same week should be read carefully in terms of their implications for US-Turkish relations. And Turkey should understand the messages contained in these invitations.
     
    *****
     
    One of the visits reflects "a reality which Turkey is trying to have accepted." The other one is "a reality which Turkey has to accept."
     
    It was difficult to look at the photograph of George W. Bush and Mesud Barzani without thinking about how much things have changed. Until recently, both Barzani and Talabani of Iraq were two tribal leaders whose leanings-friend or enemy-were never really clear to Turkey.
     
    And the reality of Kurdistan was where we drew the line in red, the one thing we could never accept!
     
    Well, today, Talabani is the President of Iraq, and Barzani the "president of the Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Authority."
     
    Kurdistan, whether or not we want it, is a reality!
     
    And there is another reality:
     
    The constitution which has been approved in Iraq has not guaranteed the unity of its land, but has broken apart its psychic esteem. And so Iraq, broken apart legally and politically, is literally broken apart!
     
    Even if the legal status of the Iraqi Constitution cannot be argued anymore, its legitimacy differs from region to region in the country.
     
    *****
     
    And so the "Kurdistan Regional Authority" has been formed, and now Kurds have to ask this question:
     
    "The US will not stay in the region forever. Kurdistan will be caught between Sunnis, Shiites, and Turks. Who is going to side with whom when that is the situation?"
     
    Turkey will have to find an answer to this question too, an answer which reflects its own interests. I am going to consider at length the answer which Turkey should give to the above question.
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