Twitter users say US president is giving much-needed recognition to repressed group.
President Trump referred to a Kurdish journalist as "Mr Kurd" during a press conference on Wednesday in New York and found himself hailed as hero on Twitter.
While taking questions, Trump called on the reporter and said, “Yes, please. Mr Kurd, go ahead.”
The reporter, Kurdistan TV journalist Rahim Rashidi, didn’t seem bothered by the reference and thanked Trump for calling on him. He then asked the president a question about how US relations with the Kurds will look post-ISIS.
"We're trying to get along very well. We do get along great with the Kurds. We're trying to help them a lot. Don't forget, that's their territory. We have to help them," answered Trump. "I want to help them."
Rashidi later identified himself on Twitter: "I’m #MrKurd & very proud. #TrumpPressConference. Thanks Mr. @POTUS for recognizing Kurdistan’s contribution in fight against ISIS."
He added to Euronews this morning: "For POTUS to refer to me by my Kurdish ethnicity is something I’m very proud of. The Kurdish people are always ignored, so we take a lot of pride in being recognized by our Kurdish identity.
"From the Iranian Regime to the Turkish government, the Kurdish people’s identity is always under attack.
"This is a happy moment for me and 40+ million Kurds around the world because it is coming from the president of the United States. We are being recognized for who we are, Kurds."
Trump's "Mr Kurd" reference followed an exchange with an exchange with a foreign reporter who told the president he was Kurdish, Trump said, "Good. Good. Great people! Great fighters. I like 'em a lot."
The Kurdish people primarily inhabit an area of the Middle East straddling southern Turkey and northern Iraq, Iran and Syria. Their demands for an independent homeland have frequently put them into conflict with the governments of those countries. Under Saddam Hussein's regime, the population of the semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan was subjected to a brutal persecution in which tens of thousands were killed.
In Turkey, the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) which has led a decades-long bloody insurgency, has been designated a terrorist organisation, a view shared by western powers including the US and the EU.
And in neighbouring Syria, the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), are similarly considered by Ankara, which has launched cross-border military operations against the militia.
However, Washington has backed the YPG as an ally against ISIS, offering supplies and air support.
Many Kurds are happy about Trump's comments and are using the #MrKurd to share their reactions:
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