SABAH 11.10.2012 – Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) Massoud Barzani discussed the Kurdish issue in an interview for the French magazine L’Essentiel in which he stated that they never want relations with Turkey to deteriorate.

Barzani said that there were periods in the past when Turkey tried to use “intimidation” politics against them and referred to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s speech made in Diyarbakır as being a turning point for him. “When he acknowledged the Kurdish issue in his address and stated that a solution must be reached through peaceful means, it changed my perspective.”

Expressing his support for the rights of Kurds who live in Turkey, Barzani pointed to political means as being the only way to go forward. “There is no need for violence. We have told the Kurdish political leaders that they should resolve the problem by peaceful means,” stated Barzani. “The PKK’s strategy of armed combat is no longer necessary. We neither accept nor support it. We are against this war and this violence,” stated Barzani inferring that Kurdish politicians need to play a role in reaching a solution.

“Where the situation in Turkey is concerned, we uphold the rights of Kurds in that country. But we believe that the change in Turkish policy can be used to achieve further progress in the recognition of these rights,” stated Barzani who went on to explain that Kurds have faced injustice in Syria for years, pointing out that they don’t even have the right of citizenship. Noting that they have no agenda of unifying with the Kurds of Syria, Barzani said that there was no telling what the future may hold and stated that the desire to unify is every nation’s natural right.

Responding to a question regarding Syrian refugees in Iraq, Barzani admitted that some 10,000 to 15,000 are receiving training. “Many of them are young men. They have not been trained for attack, but for defense. The regions where they live have no system of defense, and they need to be able to preserve them from chaos,” stated Barzani.