Barzani ‘very happy’ over government and PKK talks

Barzani ‘very happy’ over government and PKK talks

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Barzani ‘very happy’ over government and PKK talks

Iraqi Kurdish leader Barzani sees the talks between government and the jailed PKK leader as a crucial step. DAILY NEWS photo, Selahattin SÖNMEZ

The Turkish government’s recent initiative to end the terror problem and resolve the Kurdish question received full support from Massoud Barzani, an influential regional Kurdish leader who is expected to play a role in future phases of the peace process between Ankara and the terror organization. Barzani is among the figures Turkey has been in contact with as part of its efforts to solve the Kurdish question, the Turkish foreign minister has said.

“Mr. Massoud Barzani is very happy and hopeful of the talks between Turkey and Abdullah Öcalan.

Barzani assesses these talks as a very important step and appreciates them,” Barzani’s spokesperson, Umid Sabah, said Jan. 5. Barzani is both the leader of the Iraqi Kurdistan Democratic Party (IKDP) and president of the Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government.

Serious, effective

“[Barzani] wishes that the meeting [with Öcalan] will be a serious and effective beginning in ending the violence and the war; in cementing peace and in the peaceful resolution of the Kurdish question,” read his statement. As the ruler of the autonomous region of northern Iraq where the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) has its headquarters and training camps, Barzani’s urging of PKK in ending armed conflict to focus on political means is believed to have played a crucial role in the PKK’s acceptance in withdrawing all its armed elements from Turkey to northern Iraq and of potential disarmament.

However, Barzani is not the lone figure Turkey has been in contact with in its efforts to solve the Kurdish problem, but all influential regional actors, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said at a press conference in İzmir yesterday.

“This ongoing process since last week is the one in which all institutions do their part and the Foreign Ministry is doing its part,” he said. “What is important now is to make this process successful.”