Disputed Stamp of Iraqi Kurdistan not Accepted by Turkey

To commemorate the visit of Pope Francis to the Kurdistan region, five postage stamps were designed. The one depicting a controversial map of the region sparked a protest by Turkey.

Iraqi Kurdistan wants to issue a postage stamp remembering the Pope’s visit. One of the designs is depicting borders behind an image of Pope Francis. The northern border is quite different from the current border and Turkey stated that part of their land was annexed and protested against this on March 10, 2021. A protest which was also supported by Iran.

Press release from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkey, March 10, 2021.

The Kurdistan Regional Government did not yet decide if this design will be used for a new postage stamp, it is one out of five designs and part of a stamp design competition to commemorate the Pope’s visit to the region. The Kurdish part of Iraq is very much dependent on the trade with Turkey, so probably the Regional Government will not use this controversial design.

Map of the Kurdish region, indicating where the majority of the population is Kurdish.


Our explorer Jan Heijs has been collecting postage stamps depicting “disputed political propaganda” since 1980. Sometimes correct franked mail with such postage stamps is accepted by another country, sometimes not. Not accepted mail is called “postal war”. For more examples see: www.postalwar.info.