Erbil, Kurdistan Region – The President of Iraqi Kurdistan Region, Massoud Barzani, met in Ankara on Monday both Turkish President Abdullah Gul and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan alongside with a number of Turkish senior officials.
Barzani had landed at the International airport of Asnboga in the Turkish city of Ankara on Monday at the head of a high level delegation included all of Mustafa Sayid Qadir, Minister of the Peshmerga, Karim Sinjari, the Interior Minister, Fuad Hussein, chief of the Presidential Office, and Jabbar Yawir, Secretary General of the Ministry of Peshmerga in Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), to be received by officials at the Turkish Foreign Ministry.
Barzani discussed with the Turkish officials the political process in Iraq and the dimensions of the crisis in the Iraqi arena recently after al-Qaeda splinter group of the Islamic State (previously known as ‘ISIL’) seized control of large areas of central and west of the country.
The visit comes as the first after the announcement of the KRG its intention to organize a referendum to determine the future of the Region (Iraqi Kurdistan), as data indicate that the Region is heading towards independence from Iraq, which may lead to further escalation of disputes between Erbil and Baghdad.
Hussein Naso, a Kurdish lawyer based in Erbil, the capital of Kurdistan Region, told ARA News that Turkey is an important regional player that is almost the only outlet to the Kurdistan Region towards the outside world, “especially after the deterioration of the relationship between Kurdistan and Iran recently, following the Iranian threats to the region and its blatant interference in its affairs, because of the KRG intention to hold a referendum on self-determination”.
“Therefore, the KRG stepped towards consolidating its relationships with Turkey, which has seen a marked improvement in the past years and got Turkey’s support politically against any move to come in the future towards independence.”
On the other hand, Naso believes that Barzani’s visit to Turkey comes to remove Turkey’s fears concerning the Kurds’ control of Kirkuk (which is inhabited by three main components; Turkmen, Kurds and Arabs) and possibly give guarantees with regard to the protection of the rights of these components, especially the Turkmen, beside the attempt of the KRG to ensure the continuity of the oil pumped and its exportation through Turkish territory.
Remarkably, the Kurdish Peshmerga forces had seized control of the city of Kirkuk and other disputed areas in northern Iraq, following the withdrawal of security forces and the Iraqi army in order to avoid clashes with al-Qaeda splinter group of the Islamic State.
Reporting by: Azad Jamkari
Source: ARA News
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