PM Barzani visits Davutoglu and Erdogan to discuss ties
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.