The history of the Turkmen peoples in Kurdistan and Iraq stretches back to the 7th century, and today they make up Iraq’s third largest ethnic group.
Mr Celebi was a successful businessman before being appointed minister for trade and industry in the Kurdistan Regional Government in October 2009. He holds both Iraqi and Turkish citizenship and is head of the Iraq branch of the Ankara-based Ihsan Dogramaci Foundation, which this year opened the Bilkent ERBIL College.
The Kurdistan region is a region of social, cultural, and political tolerance where people of all ethnic backgrounds and religions can live in peace and harmony. The Turkmen are an essential and valuable part of the Kurdistan region.
At the talk, which was chaired by Salah Al-Shaikhly, the former Iraqi ambassador to the UK, Mr Celebi explained the role of the Turkmen in Iraq's ancient and recent history. In answer to a question from the floor, Mr Celebi said that the Turkmen enjoyed good relations with the Kurdish population in the Kurdistan Region today.
The British Iraqi Friendship Society informs the British public about all aspects of Iraqi life and culture, including its heritage, art, performing arts, language and traditions.
The Kurdistan Regional Government has made great strides with the Turkmen population, setting up Turkmen schools, which are fully funded by the government, and continues to work with them to ensure that their legitimate needs and aspirations are protected.
Furthermore, Kurdistan Region draft Constitution guarantees inclusiveness of all minority groups and ensures broad political representation. Turkmen form part of the government coalition together with several other political parties, and have held important ministerial posts in all KRG cabinets and Kurdistan Regional Parliament.
Minister Celebi is in the UK this week leading a Kurdistan Region business leader’s delegation to London, Edinburgh and Belfast, alongside Samir Abdullah Mustafa, KRG Minister of Municipalities and Tourism.
The delegation came to the UK to promote trade and investment opportunities in Kurdistan, to continue the friendship through trade between Kurdistan and the UK, but also to build stronger cultural ties with England and the British devolved nations.
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