Ankara and Arbil want ‘unity gov’t’

Ankara and Arbil want ‘unity gov’t’

Sevil Erkuş ANKARA – Hürriyet Daily News
Ankara and Arbil want ‘unity gov’t’

KRG Prime Minister Barzani mentioned concerns about security and cited the loss of revenue suffered after ISIL seized the Mosul region. DHA Photo

The prime minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) held talks in Ankara on June 26, amid growing unrest in Iraq. Both Nechirvan Barzani and Turkish officials agreed on the need for the establishment of an inclusive Iraqi government as soon as possible. 

A Turkish official, who wanted to remain anonymous, said after the talks that both sides supported a new government that would “embrace all parts of the Iraqi people and aims for fair power and revenue sharing.”

A “reconciliation government” should be founded as soon as possible in order to protect territorial and political unity and keep the country from sectarian clashes, the official added.

The meeting was called by Turkey to discuss strategy and developments after militants led by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), began waging an open war against the central government.

KRG Prime Minister Barzani mentioned concerns about security and cited the loss of revenue suffered after ISIL seized the Mosul region.

Barzani, accompanied by the governor of Kirkuk, came to Turkey following an invitation by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, met Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, Energy Minister Taner Yıldız and the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) chief Hakan Fidan, and Erdoğan. The bilateral meetings came just before the biannual National Security Council meeting that was set to convene under President Abdullah Gül’s leadership.

The visit comes during a difficult period that has seen ISIL capture a number of Iraqi cities, including Mosul, in its march toward the capital Baghdad.

Meanwhile, KRG President Masoud Barzani yesterday toured Kirkuk, in his first visit since the takeover, to inspect Kurdish forces deployed to defend the city against the militants to its west and south. He said he was ready to “defend Kirkuk against militants.”

Turkish officials and Nechirvan Barzani also discussed the current situation surrounding the Turkish hostages captured by ISIL on June 11, as well as the issue of recent oil exports by Iraqi Kurds through a pipeline via Turkey.

Safeen Dizayee, the spokesperson of the KRG government, called for the assistance of the international community to deal with the growing problems in Iraq. “This is not just Iraq’s problem; it’s the entire Middle East region’s problem,” Dizayee said.

A new government should be formed and Nouri al-Maliki should not be in that government, he added, describing al-Maliki as “part of the problem, not the solution.”

Dizayee told reporters that the “political process in Iraq ended” when ISIL militants expanded from Syria into Iraq.

“Obviously there is a need for a new, more comprehensive political structure. Everyone, every group should be ensured that they are part of this country,” he said.

Dizayee added that a political process was the solution, rather than military measures. “However, we might consider some military measures to eliminate radical elements after a road map for a political solution is prepared,” he said.

The Iraqi military might be sufficient for this purpose, with support from the U.S, the EU, and neighboring countries if necessary, he said.

Asked about KRG President Masoud Barzani’s recent remarks about possible Kurdish independence, Dizayee said this could only be decided by the Iraqi Kurdish people. “We have a parliament, our citizens can go to polls,” he added.

“This is a matter of the Iraqi people. I am sure Turkey will be respectful as it was in other issues. We do not have an agenda for independence at the moment,” he also said.