Development Minister Cevdet Yılmaz has paid an official visit to the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) in Northern Iraq to enhance economic ties and discuss mutual relations.
"As Turkey, we believe that this region's security is our security; this also applies to the welfare of the region, too," he said, noting that the KRG government is doing a good job of fighting terrorism and dealing with the economic crisis it faces due to the decrease in oil prices.
Addressing a press conference after meeting with KRG Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani and other officials, Yılmaz said the purpose of the meeting was to activate development deals that both sides had agreed to between 2012 and 2013.About resolving the KRG's economic woes, Yılmaz said: "This region's economy needs to be diversified. Trade and mutual investments between us need to be executed. In this context, not only the public sector, but also the private sector should be involved more."
He also referred to Turkey's experience with economic distress in 2001 and how the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) then made several reforms to overcome the crisis after it came to power in 2002. "We are ready to share our reform experience with our brothers here," he said.
Early this month, KRG President Masoud Barzani criticized the PKK and PYD in a meeting with several AK Party officials in the KRG capital of Irbil: "The PKK came to a dead end after it turned the cities into battlefields and started to target civilians. And the PYD has been inflicting more cruelty than the Baathist regime."
Stressing that they have been struggling against the Iraqi regime for decades to gain their rights, Barzani said that despite fighting against the central regime, they never targeted infrastructure or civilians. "My father never let civilians be hurt during the 50-year-long fight against the regime. We never destroyed any schools, roads or energy plants," he said.
Commenting on PYD cruelty, Barzani said that the PYD is crueler than the Baathist regime of Bashar Assad in Damascus. "The tribal leaders fleeing PYD violence came to us for shelter. We have always been aware that waiting for peace for 10 years is more valuable than fighting for a day. Assad took the advantage provided by the PYD, but didn't pledge anything to guarantee the status of the Kurdish people," Barzani added.