Kur­dis­tan and Turkey open new pos­i­tive chap­ter

The Kurdish Globe - - FRONT PAGE -

Pres­i­dent Barzani and PM Barzani re­ceived Turk­ish Prime Min­is­ter Ah­met Davu­to­glu in the cap­i­tal city of Er­bil to dis­cuss en­ergy and se­cu­rity On Fri­day Novem­ber 21, 2014.

Turk­ish Prime Min­is­ter Ah­met Davu­to­glu met with lead­ers in Kur­dis­tan, his sec­ond stop in the vi­o­lence-plagued coun­try after Bagh­dad, as he con­tin­ues the bond-build­ing visit.

In talks with the Kur­dis­tan Re­gional Pres­i­dent Ma­soud Barazani, en­ergy and mil­i­tary co­op­er­a­tion were dis­cussed fol­low­ing a visit seen as a so­lu­tion to long-stand­ing ten­sions be­tween Ankara and Bagh­dad.

«I'm very happy to be vis­it­ing Er­bil as Prime Min­is­ter," Dab­u­to­glu said, adding that dis­cus­sions had fo­cused on hu­man­i­tar­ian aid to Iraq's IDPs and se­cu­rity as well as eco­nomic co­op­er­a­tion.

«I would like to re­it­er­ate that Turkey will con­tinue to look after its brothers," he said, in ref­er­ence to those forced to flee ISIL. «We have built camps in Duhok with a to­tal ca­pac­ity of 35,000 peo­ple."

Speak­ing at a joint news con­fer­ence in Er­bil, Barazani con­firmed that 150,000 bar­rels per day of crude oil from the Kirkuk oil­fields will be­gin to flow into Turkey.

Kur­dis­tan Re­gion Pres­i­dent Mas­soud Barzani said that Bagh­dad would send Er­bil $500 mil­lion as part of an agree­ment reached be­tween both sides last week on solv­ing their bud­get dis­putes.

“We have agreed that Bagh­dad will send the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion $1 bil­lion in two in­stall­ments and in re­turn we will give Bagh­dad 150,000 bar­rels of oil,” said Barzani at a press con­fer­ence.

This is a mas­sive step, since Turkey has no do­mes­tic en­ergy out­put of its own, and there­fore re­lies on im­ports.

«Money rev­enue from this trans­ac­tion was held ef­fec­tively in es­crow, where it was touched by nei­ther the Kurds, nor Bagh­dad, but has now been re­leased to Bagh­dad."

Kur­dis­tan Re­gional Gov­ern­ment Prime Min­is­ter, Nechir­van Barzani, also met in Er­bil his Turk­ish coun­ter­part Ahmed Davu­to­glu and his ac­com­pa­ny­ing del­e­ga­tion.

The meet­ing was at­tended by KRG Deputy Prime Min­is­ter, Qubad Tal­a­bani, KRG min­is­ters of In­te­rior, Pesh­merga Af­fairs, Fi­nance and Econ­omy, Plan­ning, Tourism, and Par­lia­ment Af­fairs, and the Spokesper­son of the Kur­dis­tan Re­gional Gov­ern­ment.

The two sides dis­cussed the sit­u­a­tion in Iraq and Kur­dis­tan and the lat­est se­cu­rity and mil­i­tary de­vel­op­ments in the war against ISIS ter­ror­ist or­ga­ni­za­tion. They also dis­cussed the out­stand­ing is­sues be­tween Er­bil and Bagh­dad as well as Turkey's re­la­tions with Iraq and Kur­dis­tan and com- mer­cial, diplo­matic and po­lit­i­cal re­la­tions.

Mil­i­tary as­sis­tance

Se­cu­rity was also a ma­jor is­sue in the Turk­ish Premier's talks with his Iraqi coun­ter­part Haidar al-Abadi in Bagh­dad on Thurs­day.

Davu­to­glu «of­fered Turk­ish mil­i­tary as­sis­tance to Iraq," Abadi said at a joint news con­fer­ence on Thurs­day, later adding that this could in­clude arm­ing and train­ing mem­bers of Iraq's planned na­tional guard.

Iraqi vol­un­teer forces «need train­ing and we may dis­cuss train­ing th­ese forces in neigh­bor­ing Turkey," Abadi said. The Iraqi Premier also said that he agreed to visit Turkey next month.

Davu­to­glu's trip to Iraq fol­lows a visit to Turkey by Iraqi For­eign Min­is­ter Ibrahim al-Jaa­fari ear­lier this month that was aimed at patch­ing up the strained ties be­tween the two neigh­bours.

Re­cep Tayyip Er­do­gan, now Turkey's Pres­i­dent, also re­peat­edly clashed with Abadi's pre­de­ces­sor, Nouri al-Ma­liki.

The two coun­tries have also dis­agreed over the pro­tracted Syr­ian civil war, where mostly-Sunni rebels are seek­ing to over­throw Pres­i­dent Bashar al-As­sad.

Shia-majority Iraq is seen to pre­fer al-As­sad, whose Alaw­ite sect is an off­shoot of Shia Is­lam, while Sunni Mus­lim Turkey backs the rebel groups.

Pre­vi­ous at­tempts to patch up Iraqi-Turk­ish re­la­tions were un­suc­cess­ful, but prospects ap­pear im­proved now that the two coun­tries both have new gov­ern­ments.

«Turkey has al­ways fa­vored a gov­ern­ment in­clu­sive of all of Iraq's eth­nic and re­li­gious groups. No one should be ex­cluded from the po­lit­i­cal arena. A united Iraq must be built," Davu­to­glu said.

GLOBE PHOTO/Safin Hamid

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