ERBIL, Kurdistan Region - Kurdish Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani and the new Turkish General Consul to Erbil stressed the mending and the development of ties between the KRG and Ankara which saw deterioration in the wake of the independence referendum, a move largely rejected by Turkey.
Barzani met with CG Hakan Karacay on Thursday, the Turkish diplomat expressed his country's readiness to help resolve Erbil-Baghdad issues.
For his part PM Nechirvan Barzani congratulated Karacay for assuming the post and wished him success during his work in the Kurdistan Region.
Barzani said the KRG is keenly considering the importance of the two neighbors’ relations, saying Ankara has always been supportive towards the Kurdistan Region.
Describing Ankara as an important neighbor, Barzani said the Turkish government could play a positive role in mending Erbil-Baghdad ties.
There was no immediate readout of the meeting from the Turkish consulate.
Turkey is a vital partner for the Kurdistan Region. The KRG exports its oil, its dominate revenue source, through a pipeline to the global markets via Turkey’s Ceyhan port.
PM Barzani stated at least on two occasions that he wanted to visit Turkey both before and after the vote to explain Erbil’s position to Turkish officials, but that Ankara had refused.
Karacay was formally received in Erbil by KRG Head of the Department of Foreign Relations on December 16.
The KRG has reached out to Turkey in a bid to mend relations between the two neighbors, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Wednesday.
Ankara received a visit request from PM Barzani, Cavusoglu said in a meeting with journalists about Turkey’s foreign policy vision for 2018.
“They [KRG] want to mend relations with us,” he said.
Ankara has trained Peshmerga forces in the war against ISIS and has treated wounded Kurdish soldiers.
Under the international flight ban, many travelers, including KRG leadership, have taken the overland route through Turkey rather than flying through Baghdad.
Turkey refused to close its border with the Kurdistan Region when Iran did so at the request of Iraq after Kurdistan’s independence referendum.
The largest Kurdish population in the world lives in Turkey.