PM Barzani vis­its Davu­to­glu and Er­do­gan to dis­cuss ties

The Kurdish Globe - - FRONT PAGE -

In an ef­fort to fur­ther foster bi­lat­eral re­la­tions, Kur­dis­tan Re­gional Gov­ern­ment Prime Min­is­ter Nechir­van Barzani ar­rived in Turkey on Thurs­day and met with Prime Min­is­ter Ah­met Davu­toğlu, Pres­i­dent Re­cep Tayyip Er­doğan and other high-level Turk­ish au­thor­i­ties in­clud­ing the En­ergy Min­is­ter and Fi­nance Min­is­ter. Barzani met with Er­doğan and Davu­toğlu separately where re­gional de­vel­op­ments and en­ergy is­sues were dis­cussed.

As the rec­on­cil­i­a­tion process, which be­gan when a cease­fire was signed be­tween the Turk­ish gov­ern­ment and the PKK in 2013, con­tin­ues to­wards a suc­cess­ful res­o­lu­tion, the Kur­dish Com­mu­ni­ties Union (KCK) re­cently made state­ments un­der­lin­ing that the process is at a dead end. Ac­cord­ing to lo­cal sources, dur­ing the of­fi­cial visit, Er­doğan and Barzani also dis­cussed the cur­rent state of the rec­on­cil­i­a­tion process. Fol­low­ing the meet­ing with Er­doğan, Barzani later met with Davu­toğlu to dis­cuss re­lated is­sues as well. In ad­di­tion to the rec- on­cil­i­a­tion process, train­ing of KRG Pesh­merga forces was also on the ta­ble as one of the top­ics of dis­cus­sion. As part of Turkey's ef­forts to fol­low a broader strat­egy in Syria, Turkey and the U.S. have in­tro­duced the train­ing and arms-sup­ply­ing pro­gram for the Free Syr­ian Army (FSA). How­ever, as the Is­lamic State (IS) at­tacks con­tin­ued near vil­lages around Er­bil, Barzani dis­cussed the train­ing of KRG Pesh­merga forces with the Turk­ish of­fi­cials. As a re­sult of the IS threats, Turkey launched a train­ing pro­gram for KRG Pesh­merga forces in late 2014 and For­eign Min­istry of­fi­cials an­nounced that 230 Pesh­merga sol­diers had been trained by Turk­ish Spe­cial Forces.

Barzani hailed Ankara's de­ci­sion to grant pas­sage to KRG Pesh­merga forces to en­ter Kobane to com­bat IS mil­i­tants and said: "This wouldn't have hap­pened with­out the Turks." In ad­di­tion, sources also say that dur­ing the meet­ing the KRG re­quested heavy weapons from Turkey.

In early De­cem­ber 2014, Bag­dad and Er­bil reached an oil agree­ment in which Barzani said on Fe­bru­ary 16 that the Iraqi gov­ern­ment failed to give the au­ton­o­mous Kur­dish Re­gion its share of oil rev­enues de­spite the signed deal. Ac­cord­ing to the deal signed in De­cem­ber 2014, 250,000 bar­rels per day of oil were to be ex­ported from the au­ton­o­mous Re­gion and an­other 300,000 bar­rels from the dis­puted prov­ince of Kirkuk. Barzani also added in his state­ments on Mon­day that the deal has "no mean­ing any­more as Bagh- dad has no money to give in re­turn." Fur­ther­more, around 400,000 bar­rels per day (bpd) of Kur­dish-pro­duced oil is pumped to the Turk­ish port of Cey­han, and the KRG wants to in­crease that vol­ume to 500,000 and later to up to 800,000 bar­rels by the end of 2015. As part of the en­ergy deals, lo­cal Turk­ish sources re­ported that dur­ing Barzani's visit on Thurs­day he met with the En­ergy Min­is­ter and the Fi­nance Min­is­ter.

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