Barzani’s visit a help to peace process: Minister

Barzani’s visit a help to peace process: Minister

Barzani’s visit a help to peace process: Minister

Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) leader Massod Barzani will meet Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in Diyarbakır today.

Science, Industry and Technology Minister Nihat Ergün ruled out assumptions that Iraqi Kurdish leader Massoud Barzani’s upcoming meeting with Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in Diyarbakır was the ruling party’s ploy to get more votes in the local elections.

It is not possible to understand negative reactions from either the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) or the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), Ergün said yesterday, speaking in an interview with private news channel CNN-Türk. The minister, meanwhile, noted the Nationalist Movement Party’s (MHP) reaction was, however, consistent with its general approach regarding relations with Iraqi Kurds and the Kurdish issue. 

Echoing what Erdoğan maintained when announcing the visit, which will take place on Nov. 16, Ergün argued the visit from the president of the Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) will have a positive impact on the resolution process. 

The resolution process, also dubbed the peace process, refers to an ongoing government-led initiative aimed at ending the long-running Kurdish issue by ending the three-decade-old conflict between security forces and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

Both the CHP and the BDP figures have maintained that the visit was a deliberate move mainly aimed at raising the popularity of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in the upcoming local elections in March 2014. The BDP shares similar grassroots with the PKK and it is no secret that the BDP and the KRG are divided on Syrian Kurds, who have just announced an interim administration that aims to carve out an autonomous Syrian Kurdish region.

‘Regional peace’ 

Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, who has recently paid a visit to Baghdad as well as to Najaf and Karbala in a bid to mend fences with the Shiite-led central government of Iraq, said he couldn’t understand why somebody would be annoyed at Barzani’s visit.

“It is the prime minister of the Republic of Turkey who extended the invitation and the one who accepted is the KRG’s president Barzani. If the prime minister of the Republic of Turkey invites somebody from any region, it should be agreed to and no one should be annoyed by this,” Davutoğlu told reporters late on Nov. 13 before his departure from Ankara to visit Myanmar. 

According to Davutoğlu, relations between Ankara and Arbil will be helpful for regional peace. The visit, which will take place during a time when ethnic and sectarian clashes are being fueled in the Middle East, will give the most important message to the entire region, he said.

“That [message] is ‘Let’s come and be together during grievances too. Let’s stand shoulder to shoulder in the face of those who want to separate us on ethnic and sectarian bases.’ Everyone should feel proud with this message and nobody should be annoyed,” Davutoğlu said.