Boycotts of Turkish products are ongoing in both the Kurdistan Region in Iraq and in the autonomously governed northeast of Syria. There are similarities: in both regions, the people started the boycott and many business people support it. But there are striking differences too. A report from Qamislo and Sulaymanya.
(Interview on Belgian public radio about ‘Turkish’ olive oil from Afrin.)
Een Zwitsers parlementslid beweert dat er olijfolie op de Europese markt te koop is, die afkomstig is van geplunderde olijfgaarden in Syrië. Klopt dat?
“Dat kan zeker kloppen” zegt Fréderike Geerdink, journaliste in Koerdistan. “Het is een kwestie die ik al een paar maanden aan het volgen ben. Het gaat om olijfolie, gemaakt van olijven uit Afrin, een gebied in het noordwesten van Syrië waar Turkije vorig jaar is binnengevallen.”
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Will the airport of Sulaymaniyah, in the Kurdistan Region in Iraq, re-open later this January? The rumours have started. A re-opening would end a fifteen-month air siege imposed on the city by Turkey, and revive the Sulaymaniyah area’s damaged economy.
The damage to the airport alone has already been calculated at 20,000 dollars per day, Haval Abubaker, the governor of Sulaymaniyah, has said. He added: ‘And that is of course not the only economic damage that the city and the region face due to the airport closure. Prices for consumers go up, tourism is down.’
Iraqi Kurdish authorities hope a meeting between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Iraqi President Barham Salih this month will lead to Turkey lifting a more than one-year ban on international flights crossing its airspace to land at Sulaymaniyah, in Iraq’s autonomous Kurdistan region.
Turkey imposed the ban on flights to Sulaymaniyah in the southeast of Iraqi Kurdistan, and Erbil, in the northwest, in September 2017 after the region voted overwhelmingly in favour of independence in a non-binding referendum. Turkey vehemently opposed the vote fearing it could boost calls for self-rule among its own restive Kurdish population.