Ankara says it does not want Barzani’s representative back in Turkey
Turkey has asked the Ankara representative of Masoud Barzani’s Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), Omer Merani, to not return to Turkey, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said on Sept. 26.
“If the KDP’s representative was here, we would ask him to leave the country. We have instead said ‘Don’t come back’ because he is currently in Arbil,” Çavuşoğlu said in a televised interview.
“We will take necessary measures against whoever makes mistakes regarding Turkey,” he added.
Çavuşoğlu also recalled “a promise” given by Barzani back in August about holding an independence referendum, saying the Iraqi Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) president pledged to “follow Turkey’s advice” to not hold the vote. However, the KRG held its referendum on independence from Iraq on Sept. 25, amid protests from Turkey and other countries.
The foreign minister said Barzani’s move was simply motivated by political calculations, adding that Ankara will take “necessary measures step by step.”
“The current ongoing military exercise means thawt we support the territorial integrity of Iraq. It means we will give support for the preservation of Iraq’s territorial integrity if Iraq has a request on this issue,” Çavuşoğlu stated.
He said the Foreign Ministry invited related countries’ ambassadors in Ankara to a meeting and urged them to stick to previous positions before the Iraqi Kurdish referendum was held.
“We told them: ‘Don’t get into a trend that will support the referendum in any way,’” he said.
Çavuşoğlu said that Baghdad would be the government’s only interlocutor in Iraq “from now on,” but added that Turkey will not close its Habur border gate with the KRG.
A coordination mechanism has been established in the Prime Ministry with the representatives of several ministries in order to work for measures to be taken against the KRG, he also noted.