Barzani discusses possible independence with representatives from 36 countries
by Daily Sabah
ANKARAJan 08, 2016 - 12:00 am GMT+3
by Daily Sabah
Jan 08, 2016 12:00 am
The president of the Northern Iraq's Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), Masoud Barzani, held a meeting with consuls and diplomatic representatives of 36 countries on Wednesday in which he discussed a possible break from Baghdad and independence for Iraqi Kurdistan.
KRG Foreign Affairs Minister Falah Mustafa Bakir reportedly told the press that Barzani talked about "the right of self-determination with the consuls and representatives of diplomatic missions," adding that he also discussed the fight against DAESH, the economic crisis in the region and the state of refugees living in the KRG.
"People should be given the chance to decide on their own future through holding a referendum and the outcome must be respected by all. The referendum will display the will of Kurdish people, and will be held when there is a peaceful environment that is away from violence," Barzani reportedly told the foreign diplomats.
Barzani last month instructed his Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) to work with other parties to find a mechanism to hold the promised referendum on independence. According to KDP officials, Barzani urged them in a leadership meeting to find a mechanism with other parties for a referendum on independence.
Commenting on the referendum on independence, the president of the Middle East Research Institute (MERI) based in Irbil, Iraq, Professor Dlawer Ala'Aldeen, recently told Daily Sabah that although "most people in [Iraqi] Kurdistan believe that independence is inevitable in the long term" not many would agree that now is the time for its declaration. Regarding whether Turkey is ready for an independent Kurdistan located on its southeastern border, Muzaffer Şenel, the director of the Center for Modern Turkish Studies at Istanbul Şehir University, said Turkey is not far from the idea of an independent Kurdistan and that Turkey has been aware of the matter since the U.S. invasion of Iraq.
Barzani has harshly criticized the PKK and held it responsible for ending the reconciliation process with the Turkish state due to its increasing attacks throughout eastern and southeastern Turkey. With Barzani's support for Turkey in combating the PKK and DAESH, Turkish officials have also stressed the significance of cooperation with the KRG. Turkey deployed 150 soldiers and up to 25 tanks to a camp in Bashiqa, Iraq to protect Turkish servicemen training Iraqi volunteers to fight DAESH. Barzani said in early December that the Turkish forces in Iraq are there within the context of a pre-arranged deal between the two countries to train forces that will participate in an operation to liberate Mosul from DAESH. With close ties between the KRG administration and Ankara, Şenel said that although Turkey is ready to accept an independent Kurdistan, what matters most is how the process is managed. "I believe that Turkey was managing the process very well until now, but though Ankara is ready for an independent Kurdistan, I do not think that the public is as ready as Ankara," Şenel said. He also said that Barzani's policies throughout this process are highly significant.