[Editor’s note: This is a highly significant meeting, coming as it did, just before the Turks moved into northern Syria to attack the Kurds. There are two Kurdish factions, one is the YPG/PKK that inhabits northern Syria and most of southeast Turkey, this is the group that have been under attack by Erdogan’s regime for several years now. The second group is the Iraqi Kurds with the capital in Erbil, northern Iraq. These Kurds are lead by Barzani and are closely allied to Erdogan. Barzani meeting with Erdogan prior to the Turkish offensive against the other group of Kurds has to be seen as a meeting to discuss strategy against their common enemy. Of course, both Barzani and Erdogan are bad guys, the sort of dictatorial despots that we should be opposing; therefore, we watch with interest to see how the US and NATO decide to align themselves in this new phase of the conflict. Ian]
Barzani in Ankara to Discuss Kurdistan, Mosul Post ISIS Phase
Erbil- Iraqi Kurdish Leader Masoud Barzani arrived to Ankara on Tuesday on an official visit following an invitation from President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
During his visit, Barzani will discuss with Erdogan and Turkish leaders major developments in the region; the war against ISIS, Kurdistan’s future, relations between Ankara and Erbil and the start of the peace process between Kurds in Turkey and the government, according to Iraqi Kurdistan sources.
Meanwhile, a political expert suggested that Barzani might meet with U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, who arrived in Turkey on Thursday on an official visit.
Barzani’s Media Advisor Kifah Mahmoud told Asharq Al-Awsat that Turkey is an important neighboring country for Kurdistan and Iraq in general. This is why political relations between Kurdistan and Turkey will head the agenda of talks between Barzani and Turkish leaders, in addition to discussing economic relations, especially that tens of billions of dollars are being invested by Turkish firms in Kurdistan.
Moreover, Mahmoud confirmed that the situation in Syria and Iraq will also be discussed thoroughly in addition to tackling the war against ISIS.
Mahmoud added: “Regional countries are aware of the major role Kurdistan plays and the importance of Masoud Barzani’s role, in precise after two years of managing the conflict and the war against ISIS, preventing Kurdistan from being occupied by terrorist organizations and receiving hundreds of thousands of Iraqi refugees; all this boosted Kurdistan regionally and internationally.”
When asked whether Barzani will propose the subject of Kurdistan’s independence to Turks and the referendum on self-determination, Mahmoud said: “The referendum and its procedure is an internal matter that is to be decided by Kurds and Iraqis.”
President Barzani said that “we, in Kurdistan, will hold talks with Iraqis on the right of self-determination and referendum in Kurdistan.”