Iraqi Kurds to voice concern on al-Nusra during Ankara visit

Iraqi Kurds to voice concern on al-Nusra during Ankara visit

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Iraqi Kurds to voice concern on al-Nusra during Ankara visit

Men move a structure down a street littered with debris in Homs. The Syrian army continues to advance in the city after capturing a key district from the rebels. REUTERS photo

Al-Nusra’s possible control of regions bordering northern Iraq is a major concern for Iraqi Kurds, Iraqi Kurdish sources said yesterday hours before a meeting between Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu and Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) Prime Minister Necirvan Barzani in Ankara.

Barzani is paying a two-day visit to Turkey, at which the Kurdish National Conference and recent developments regarding Syrian Kurds are high on the agenda.

“We are concerned that al-Nusra will become a neighbor of the Iraqi Kurdistan, which will put our stability in jeopardy,” the source told the Hürriyet Daily News, adding that the concerns were also to be addressed in the meeting. “It is not only about al-Nusra’s pressure on the Kurds in Syria; such a move would harm peace in the whole region.”

Another issue on the table will be the Kurdish National Conference, which is slated for Arbil in August. Turkey’s sole desire from the upcoming Kurdish National Conference is that it preserves the region’s current borders and takes a stand against terrorist activities, a Turkish diplomat told the Daily News.

Barzani is visiting Ankara to inform the Turkish government and political parties regarding the purposes of the gathering, in which representatives from a number of Kurdish groups from neighboring countries, including Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran, will participate in order to discuss the future of Kurds in the region.

The visit comes just after Salih Muslim, the leader of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) in Syria, met with Turkish officials in Istanbul on July 23 after the group declared its desire to establish local autonomous administrations in northern Syria, a decision which drew approval from other Kurdish groups at the preparation meeting in Arbil last week. Davutoğlu was set to meet with Barzani late yesterday. The politician will also meet Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan today.

“We will cover developments from both Iraq and Syria and also revise our bilateral relations with the regional administration in the north of Iraq,” Davutoğlu said yesterday at a joint press conference with Mexican Foreign Minister José Antonio Meade Kuribrena. Barzani’s visits to Turkey every few months are routine, the minister added.

In the meantime, KRG spokesman Safeen Dizayee visited the Republican People’s Party (CHP) and briefed deputies about the purposes of the upcoming Kurdish National Conference, the CHP’s Faruk Loğoğlu told reporters yesterday.

“This conference is not a step on the way to an independent Kurdish state. On the contrary, every Kurdish group wants to live within their country,” Dizayee told the CHP, according to Loğoğlu.

The CHP, however, criticized the Turkish government’s policy of solely engaging in dialogue with the Iraqi Kurdish administration, Loğoğlu said.