PKK responsible for ending reconciliation process: KRG President Masoud Barzani

DAILY SABAH
ISTANBUL
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Masoud Barzani, president of the autonomous northern Kurdish region in Iraq, addresses the media after his meeting with Shiite leader Ammar al-Hakim of the influential Supreme Iraqi Islamic Council in Arbil, on March 17, 2012 (AFP Photo)
Masoud Barzani, president of the autonomous northern Kurdish region in Iraq, addresses the media after his meeting with Shiite leader Ammar al-Hakim of the influential Supreme Iraqi Islamic Council in Arbil, on March 17, 2012 (AFP Photo)

The President of the Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), Masoud Barzani, said the PKK was responsible for the end of the Kurdish reconciliation process in Turkey. Barzani made the comments during an interview released by Germany's news magazine Focus on Friday.

"The PKK overestimated itself. The peace process between Turks and Kurds' being threatened is not only related to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, but also to hardliners in the PKK who do not want peace," Barzani told the Munich-based magazine Focus.

This week, Turkey gave US-led coalition official access to air bases in the country in the fight against ISIS, and regarding this agreement between the two countries, Barzani said that it will have a "tremendous impact in the region," adding that he feared any further fighting in North Iraq will lead to a battle.

There are conflicting opinions in the German parliament (Bundestag) regarding Germany's military assistance provided to Barzani's troops in the region. Roderich Kiesewetter, a member of the Christian Democratic Union of Germany (CDU) party, told Focus magazine that Barzani's troops could continue to expect German military aid, whereas Omid Nouripour, a member of Alliance '90/The Greens party, criticized this military assistance.

"As the federal government (Bundestag) could never rule out that the weapons given to the Peshmerga [military forces of KRG] are not passed on to the PKK, the government must immediately stop selling more arms to the Kurds," Nouripour said.

Meanwhile, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier on Friday said that Turkey has a responsibility to protect its citizens against terror but also urged the country not to abandon the Kurdish peace process despite an upsurge in tension and violence.

Ankara "should not tear down the bridges with the Kurds which have been painstakingly built -- by both sides -- over the past few years," Steinmeier told Bild daily.

Since the Suruç suicide bombing in southeastern Turkey which claimed 32 lives and injured more than 100, the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) and the terrorist organization PKK has blamed the Turkish government on baseless allegations.

After the suicide bombing, PKK has killed many officers and civilians, totaling almost 20 with Friday's attacks, to which the military retaliated by bombing the organization's densely populated camps in Northern Iraq.

Iraqi government, however, condemned on Tuesday Turkey's air strikes as a "dangerous escalation and an assault on Iraqi sovereignty", saying it was committed to ensuring militant attacks on Turkey were not carried out from within its territory. "The Iraqi government is taking the necessary measures to stop any threat that is posed to Turkey from Iraq," read Baghdad's statement.

In response to the Iraqi government's stance, the Turkish foreign ministry said on Friday that the Iraq's "negative attitude" towards Turkey's air strikes on PKK camps in northern Iraq was disappointing and difficult to accept.

"It is obvious that many armed PKK militants have been sheltering inside Iraqi territory for years," the foreign ministry said in statement.

"It is not possible to accept or understand the opposing attitude of those who can't control their border," it said.

Many Western countries as well as the U.N. and NATO, condemn the PKK's terror attacks against Turkey and state that they fully respect Turkey's rights to defend itself. After talks in Brussels, which were held at the behest of Turkey, NATO ambassadors said they "stand in strong solidarity" with Turkey, whereas the U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Wednesday, Turkey's actions were undertaken "in accordance with the U.N. Charter as a way of exercising self-defense."

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