Iraq's Talabani praises Turkey's role, warns of civil war in Syria
Iraqi President Jalal Talabani on Friday praised the ruling party of Turkey, the Justice and Development Party (AK Party), in a speech delivered during a Socialist International (SI) meeting in Athens.
Talabani, who is also the vice chairman of the SI, said Turkey exerts a positive influence on the region.
“The role of Turkey is positive [in the region]. It is a great neighbor. It can play a very important role in the stabilization and democratization process [of the region],” said Talabani.
Talabani also emphasized that the AK Party could be a great example for Egypt and Syria. “Turkey should help mediate between the Syrian government and Ikhwan [Muslim Brotherhood]; otherwise, Syria could descend into civil war," he said.
Talks with Turkish opposition leader
In Athens, Talabani also had talks with Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, whose party is also a member of the Socialist International.
Speaking ahead of the meeting, Talabani dodged questions about a political row in Turkey over the CHP's boycott of the parliamentary swearing-in ceremony. “I am here to meet with Mr. Kılıçdaroğlu and discuss ways to strengthen our relations. I am inviting him to Iraq,” Talabani told reporters.
Members from the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), which also boycotted the ceremony, were also attending the SI meeting. There was no report of talks between Talabani and BDP representatives.
Both the CHP and BDP members refused to take their oaths in protest of imprisonment of their some of their deputies in relation to several coup plot-related trials that have been taking place in the country.
Talabani said he congratulated the CHP for its election success, saying it had both increased its votes and its number of deputies in Parliament. He also said Turkey's democracy was a good example for the Muslim world.