German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier. Photo: AFP
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region ─ German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said Sunday the potential declaration of an independent Kurdistan would destabilized the Middle East and intensifies political conflicts across the restive region.
In an interview with the Bild am Sonntag newspaper, Steinmeier said it would be better if Kurds stay with a unified Iraq rather than build their own independent state. He added that an independent Kurdistan would add more complication to conflicts in the region.
Steinmeier went on to say Kurdish Peshmerga forces now battling the Islamic State, or ISIS, need to receive more aid from Western countries. He stressed the need of humanitarian assistance for refugees and displaced people in the Kurdistan region.
He said Germany understands why Turkey has recently resumed its military operations and aerial attack on the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). He emphasized that even after withdrawing German Patriot missile batteries from Turkey, Germany won’t stop supporting Ankara.
“Germany feels a responsibility towards Turkey’s security in the region,” said Steinmeier.
He said ISIS is poses a serious threat to Turkey’s borders, adding that the PKK has also launched attacks against Turkish security forces.
The German Defense Ministry announced Saturday plans to withdraw its Patriot Missiles from the Turkish-Syrian border. The move comes after heated debate in German society over Turkey’s stance towards NATO and the West.
Starting in 2013, the Patriot Missile issue had caused heated debate in Germany. Many Germans oppose the NATO mission, despite Ankara being a member state, viewing Turkey as not doing its part against the extremists.