Turkish FM Meets With Barzani, Political Parties in Erbil

Turkish FM Meets With Barzani, Political Parties in Erbil

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu held talks with Masoud Barzani and the Kurdish political parties to discuss referendum and relations as well as latest developments in Iraq.

Cavusoglu arrived in the Kurdistan Region on Wednesday (August 23) after his meetings with Iraqi senior officials in Baghdad.

Turkish foreign minister met with Barzani in Erbil on Wednesday. According to a statement by the Kurdistan Region’s Presidency (KRP), both sides discussed the relations between Turkey and the region as well as referendum.  

“The Turkish Foreign Minister acknowledged that such a step is a natural right of the people of the Kurdistan Region, however, the timing may cause more issues in the region,” KRP’s statement read, referring to referendum on independence of Kurdistan set for September 25.

Cavusoglu also expressed Turkey’s willingness in helping with the negotiations between Iraq and the region so as to resolve “some of the grievances of the Kurdistan Region.”

Turkish FM also held talks with the officials from the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), Kurdistan Islamic Group (KIG) and Kurdistan Islamic Movement (KIM).

Head of KIM’s Press Office, Kamal Zrari, told NRT on Thursday that the Turkish FM had said referendum could bring problems to the region and further deteriorate the situation.

According to the KIM’s press office, KIG Leader Irfan Ali Abdulaziz said during the meeting that the decision to hold referendum was due to the “Bad policies of the Iraqi government against the Kurdistan Region.”

Cavusoglu also said during his meeting with the PUK officials that Turkey considers unity of Iraq important and Ankara would help with the discussion between Erbil and Baghdad to be successful.  

Turkish FM reinstated during a press conference in Baghdad on Wednesday that Kurds’ decision to hold the independence referendum was wrong and that Ankara expects it to cancel the vote.

The Kurdistan Region declared on June 7 a plan to hold a referendum on the region’s independence this year on September 25. The announcement came following a meeting between the region’s political parties, not including the Change Movement (Gorran) and KIG.