MESOPOTAMIA NEWS TODAY : Nechirvan Barzani meets with Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara / Meeting contra PKK

5 Sept 2020 – MESOP – Iraqi Kurdistan Region president Nechirvan Barzani (L) with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Ankara, September 4, 2020. Photo: Kurdistan Presidency

ANKARA,— Iraqi Kurdistan Region president Nechirvan Barzani met with Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan during a visit to Ankara on Friday, Kurdistan presidency reported.

According to the presidency statement, at the meeting, both sides reiterated their mutual willingness to strengthen bilateral relations between Iraqi Kurdistan and Turkey, particularly, in areas of trade and economic partnerships. The two sides also discussed investment and job creation opportunities by Turkish companies in the Kurdistan Region’s diverse sectors.

Barzani had a separate meeting with Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and other senior Turkish officials.

“Hosted President Nechirvan Barzani of KRG and his delegation. Discussed our relations, in particular the joint fight against PKK,” Cavusoglu said on Twitter.

Turkey, which has had a military presence in Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region for a quarter of a century, launched a cross-border ground and air operation last June against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party PKK in Iraqi Kurdistan.

The Turkish ground assault has seen Turkish troops advance up to 40 km inside Iraqi Kurdistan and establish over 30 “temporary bases”, an official told Reuters.

Iraqi Kurdistan’s ruling Barzani family has close ties with the Turkish government, which is an important economic and political partner of KDP, and opposes PKK.

The PKK, took up arms in 1984 against the Turkish state, which still denies the constitutional existence of Kurds, to push for greater autonomy in Turkish Kurdistan (Bakur, northern Kurdistan) for the Kurdish minority who make up over 22.5 million of the country’s 82-million population. More than 40,000 Turkish soldiers and Kurdish rebels, have been killed in the conflict.

Barzani came to Ankara only a few days after he met French President Emmanuel Macron whose ties with Erdogan have recently strained over Libya and the eastern Mediterranean.

Kurdistan Region president, accompanied by a delegation that includes Head of the Director of the Kurdistan president office Karim Sinjari, Head of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Department of Foreign Relations Safeen Dizayee, the Senior Adviser Falah Mustafa, and Kurdistan Presidency Divan Fawzi Hariri.

Barzani returned to Iraqi Kurdistan from Ankara with two Yazidi children, a girl aged 10, and a boy 11, who had been kidnapped by the Islamic State six years ago in Yazidi dominated Sinjar province in northern Iraq, K24 TV reported.

In August 2014, the Islamic State ISIS militants attacked the Sinjar district in northwest Iraq, which was home to hundreds of thousands of Yazidis, after the Barzani’s KDP militia forces withdrew from the area without a fight leaving behind the Yazidi civilians to IS killing and genocide.

Many Yazidis, critics, Kurdish politicians and observers blame ex-Kurdistan president Massoud Barzani, the commander in-chief of the Peshmerga, for the Yazidi massacre.

(With files from | kurdistan presidency | Agencies)