Turkiye, Middle East

KRG respects sovereignty of regional nations: Diplomat

Stamps for pope’s visit depicting Turkish provinces not planned by Iraq's KRG, Safeen Dizayee says

Bekir Aydogan   | 13.03.2021
KRG respects sovereignty of regional nations: Diplomat


Printing a commemorative stamp to mark a visit by Pope Francis earlier this month was not a project planned by Iraq's Kurdish Regional Government (KRG), according to its top diplomat on Friday. 

Graphic designers submitted samples of proposals to be printed, Safeen Dizayee, the head of the KRG Department of Foreign Relations, told Anadolu Agency.

Printing will be in accordance with certain rules and laws and draft designs must receive the government’s approval, said Dizayee.

“We highly respect sovereignty of neighboring Iran, Turkey and Syria. Likewise, we expect from them to respect the sovereignty of Iraq and the Iraq’s Kurdish region,” he said.

Stressing KRG’s good relations with Turkey and Iran, Dizayee said the problem should be solved through good sense and understanding.

“The stability, prosperity and security of the region is our top priority. Being in good and friendly relations with both neighboring countries and the whole world is the priority of our foreign policy,” he said.

“Our official attitude and policy are clear. We also very well know the official attitude and policy of Ankara. We support maintenance of good relations between the two countries,” added Dizayee.

The KRG in northern Iraq said on Wednesday that it did not allow controversial proposed stamp samples to be printed that subsequently were criticized by Turkey.

A KRG spokesman told reporters that artists submitted samples of designs to be printed for Francis’ visit to Iraq earlier this month.

He said none of the models have been approved and noted that "the design that will be approved for printing will be in accordance with the Constitution and the law."

Turkey's Foreign Ministry said in a statement that one of the stamps depicts a map that includes Turkish provinces and demanded that KRG officials "immediately reverse the grave mistake."

"Certain presumptuous authorities in KRG dared to abuse the mentioned visit to express their unrealistic aspirations against the territorial integrity of Iraq’s neighboring countries," read the statement.

The pope’s four-day historic visit from March 5 to 8 covered five Iraqi cities, including Baghdad, Erbil, Mosul, Najaf and Nasiriyah.

It was the first-ever papal visit to Iraq and the pontiff's first foreign tour since the global outbreak of the coronavirus in December 2019.

*Writing by Zehra Nur Duz in Ankara

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