The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP)’s candidate for the Diyarbakır mayoral seat has said the territory where Kurds live in Turkey is called Kurdistan.
“I wouldn’t hesitate to call every territory where Kurds live Kurdistan. I myself am Kurdish as well, and I live there,” Galip Ensarioğlu said late Dec. 3, speaking in an interview on broadcaster CNN Türk.
However Ensarioğlu, who is preparing to run for the post during March 2014 local elections, asserted that his remarks did not imply the necessity of a sovereign Kurdistan state.
“The phrase ‘Turkish Kurdistan’ might be interpreted differently. Connotations that the four areas [where Kurds live – in Turkey, Iraq, Iran and Syria] will unite in the future and a sovereign state will be established are intentionally provoked by some people. But the name of the territory where Kurds live in Turkey is Kurdistan,” he said.
He said Iraq and Iran constitutionally defined the territories where their Kurdish citizens live in as Kurdistan, and added that he saw no problem with that.
Current Diyarbakır Mayor Osman Baydemir also used the phrase “Turkish Kurdistan” on the same TV program.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan used the term “Kurdistan” to define the territory during a joint rally with the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) leader Masoud Barzani on Nov. 16, in apparent defiance of criticism from ultra-nationalists to his approach and language.