Barzani says good to hear voluntary return plans for Syrian Kurds sheltered in Turkey
Iraqi Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) Prime Minister Masrour Barzani said on Nov. 28 that he is glad to hear in Ankara that Syrian-Kurdish refugees sheltered in Turkey have voluntarily returned to their homelands.
“We are pleased to hear that no one will be sent to different regions by force,” he said, speaking at a joint press conference with Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu.
Barzani praised Turkey’s cooperation with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), saying that the Ankara is “coordinating very closely” with the UN Agency.
Relations between the KRG and Ankara are “very important, historic and strategic,” Barzani said during his first foreign visit.
Çavuşoğlu, for his part, expressed optimism to develop relations with the KRG and said Iraq should remove trade barriers to reach a targeted trade volume of $20 million.
The minister said Turkey has told both Iraq’s central government and the KRG in northern Iraq about its expectations about the continued presence of the terrorist groups YPG/PKK and FETÖ, the group behind the 2016 defeated coup.
“There 350,000 Kurds in Turkey, and more than 250,000 Syrian Kurds in Iraq right now. They are not able to return to Syria because the PKK/YPG exiled them,” he added.