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Last Updated: Thursday, 7 April, 2005, 11:05 GMT 12:05 UK
Talabani election pleases press
Kurds celebrate Mr Talabani's election
Talabani will be Iraq's first Kurdish president

Jalal Talabani's election as Iraq's new president inspires cautious optimism in the comment pages of Thursday's papers in Baghdad and elsewhere in the region.

Many see the choice of Mr Talabani as an opportunity for Iraqis to cast long-standing ethnic differences aside.

Turkish papers are also generally buoyed by the news, predicting that he could dampen Kurdish hopes of their own independent state.


Now that Mam [Uncle] Jalal has been named president of Iraq, the government has no option but to translate slogans into facts, turn words into deeds and work for the benefit of Iraq. The president is now responsible for Iraq in its entirety, rather than one region alone... It makes no difference whether he is a Kurd, Arab, Turkoman, Muslim, Christian or Yezidi. What is important is that he is Iraqi.

Editorial by Basim al-Shaykh in Iraq's Al-Dustur


Television is showing an unfamiliar scene in the history of new Iraq, a scene of a people defying the arrogance of the executioner and the claims and illusions of the dictator, a scene of a people with an unbending will to elect the country's leaders of the country from across the national spectrum... The scene then zooms in on a Kurd excluded from Saddam's presidential amnesty, a scene in which Jalal Talabani appears as the president of new Iraq, elected by free will, closing a chapter in the history of a wounded nation that is still recovering.

Editorial by Fakhri Karim in Iraq's Al-Mada


We hope the Kurds in Iraq will have the insight to learn from the failure of the Arab national slogans... We hope that the transitional period will succeed so that it can be one of the pillars of a new democratic system in this complicated Middle East.

Commentary by Hasan al-Batal in Palestinian Al-Ayyam


The new Iraqi government should not add fuel to the fire and aggravate the sectarian crisis as well as Iraq's geographical disintegration. The new government should handle the current crisis by regarding national expectations as a crucial factor in ending the occupation... There are many players involved in the Iraqi quagmire, and they only want to shuffle cards and kindle a civil war, which would only hinder the creation of a sovereign and independent national government.

Saudi Arabia's Al-Watan


Jalal Talabani will go down in history as Iraq's first Kurdish president... This indicates the extent of Arab tolerance and confirms that Arabs are not tribal chauvinists, as alleged by the Kurdish brothers.

London-based Al-Quds al-Arabi


Talabani is the president of Iraq. This is a turning point in the history of both Iraq and the Kurdish issue... If President Talabani acts in accordance with his constructive speeches of the recent past, and if future Prime Minister [Ibrahim] Jaafari does not move towards theocracy, they can be the architects of peace and stability in the Middle East and gain the appreciation of the world. Of course this is our wish. Thinking the opposite is terrifying.

Commentary by Taha Akyol in Turkey's Milliyet


Ankara is not uncomfortable about this development... It is believed that, with Talabani as president of Iraq, Kurds will freeze their intention to secede and declare an independent state, and put forward the target of being influential across the whole of Iraq.

Commentary by Fikret Bila in Turkey's Milliyet


Talabani is a guarantee against the formation of a Kurdish state in the north of Iraq and Iraq being dissolved. The north being broken away from Iraq and left to [fellow Iraqi Kurdish leader Massoud] Barzani will not suit Talabani's interests. Compared to a half-portion of the Kurdish leadership in northern Iraq, the presidency of Iraq represents a big phase for Talabani. He will want to play the role of a key person for the US, the UK and Israel. And this is not against Turkey's interests.

Commentary by Guneri Civaoglu in Turkey's Milliyet


Ankara will always watch Talabani's presidential term... with suspicion and anxiety. With suspicion, because in countless experiences, it has been seen how Talabani can slip from Turkey's palm.

Commentary by Erdal Safak in Turkey's Sabah


For the first time in history, someone whose main and determining identity is 'Kurdish' has sat on the presidential chair at the end of a democratic process... This is an opportunity that cannot be wasted in terms of Iraq's current territorial integrity... For Turkey too, this is a big opportunity. Among the 275 members of the Iraqi parliament, including the Turkoman MPs, Jalal Talabani is the one who knows and understands Turkey best.

Commentary by Cengiz Candar in Turkey's Tercuman


BBC Monitoring selects and translates news from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages. It is based in Caversham, UK, and has several bureaus abroad.




SEE ALSO:
Iraq president set to be sworn in
07 Apr 05 |  Middle East
Who's who in Iraq: Jalal Talabani
06 Apr 05 |  Middle East


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