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Qubad Talabani warns of existential threat facing PUK, Kurdistan

By Rudaw 20/11/2017
Qubad Talabani, a PUK member and Kurdistan Region's Deputy Prime Minister, attends a memorial held for his late father Jalal Talabani, forner Iraqi President, in Sulaimani in November 2017. File photo: Rudaw/Sartip Othman
Qubad Talabani, a PUK member and Kurdistan Region's Deputy Prime Minister, attends a memorial held for his late father Jalal Talabani, forner Iraqi President, in Sulaimani in November 2017. File photo: Rudaw/Sartip Othman
SULAIMANI, Kurdistan Region – An ordinary congress that must be held no later than January is necessary to break foreign and domestic threats that are targeting the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) and may have direct results on the very survival of the Kurdistan Region, said Qubad Talabani, the younger son of the party’s late founder Jalal Talabani.

Qubad Talabani is also deputy prime minister of the Kurdistan Region.

His party is facing various problems. Its founder Jalal Talabani passed away in October and its acting head, Kosrat Rasul, was flown to Germany this month to receive emergency medical treatment. And the PUK stronghold of Kirkuk, dubbed the ‘Jerusalem of Kurdistan’ by Jalal Talabani, was lost to Iraqi forces.
“It is no secret that our PUK is going through a hard time. It faces threats from within the party and from foreign and domestic bodies,” Qubad Talabani said in a published statement. PUK members are taking a good look at the party – criticizing it and looking for some light, he said.
The PUK is also receiving “enormous criticism” from the people of Kurdistan in general, including those in the disputed areas, he said. 
Some PUK elements, especially within Qubad Talabani’s family, have been accused of handing over Kirkuk to the Iraqi forces, something they deny. Qubad Talabani himself has not been a target for this charge.

Qubad Talabani said these problems arose after the illness and death of Jalal Talabani. Without him, both Iraq and the Kurdistan Region are driving in a dangerous direction, the son warned.

The PUK, one of the two main Kurdistan Region parties, is essential for the Region, he said. “Without a cohesive, strong and united PUK, Kurdistan may not be able to survive,” the current threats.

Some suggestions from party members, including forming an interim leadership, are simply “whitewashing” and not seriously addressing the problems, he said.
The PUK leadership voted to elect an 11-member body to run the party’s affairs until it can hold a congress early next year. The decision has not yet been made final.

Talabani said for the PUK to remain cohesive and strong and to ensure that “the territorial integrity of Kurdistan is protected,” the PUK must hold its ordinary congress and give new people a chance to come forward with modern ideas and strengthen the party. 

The congress must not be a chance to take revenge and conduct a “coup d'etat”, the young leader said.

He cautioned against rushing decisions heading into the congress, saying that the party that would emerge from such a harried process would be weakened, catering to the interests of some individuals only.

“In this congress, we should ask ourselves, what is the PUK for?” Talabani asked.

He said party members should question why they choose to join the PUK. Is it because of its glorious past, or because of its “vision for the future”?
His answer is to respect past achievements but strive for a brighter future, and “reintroduce the PUK to the people of Kurdistan by committing to its national principles,” coupled with presenting a vision capable of facing today’s challenges.

With these points in mind, he called on all PUK members to “pressure” the party to convene its congress by the end of January.

He concluded that the PUK should continue to believe its slogans that also includes “the right to self-determination.”

The PUK, Kurdistan’s third-largest party in terms of number of seats in the parliament, has strong influence over the Peshmerga and security forces in the provinces of Sulaimani and Halabja.


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Muraz Adzhoev | 21/11/2017
The PUK must change its program strategic political goal, which was «autonomous Kurdistan Region within federative democratic Iraq», for the implementation of the binding and сonvincing outcome of 25.09.2017 self-determination Referendum. And PUK certainly must reveal the whole truth about betrayal in Kirkuk, naming all the traitors.
Qubad is Wrong! | 21/11/2017
Dear Qubad: You are a nice young man and the people of Kurdistan have a lot of respect for you and your late father (RIP). But, you are wrong when you say that the party congress “must not be a chance to take revenge and conduct a ‘coup d'etat’ ”. The fact of the matter is that some prominent members of your family (including your mother, your oldest brother Bafel, Lahur, Aras Sheikh Jangi, and Jaafar Sheikh Mustafa) betrayed and put a poisonous dagger in the back of the Kurdish Nation on October 16, 1917. They conspired with the enemies of the Kurds to dash our dream for having an independent country of our own. They pushed back the Kurdish Cause for a hundred years, if not forever. Obviously your mother is too old to face a firing squad and she should be exiled to Iran where she belongs. But your other family members who have sold out our homeland to Iraq and Iran should all face justice. They must be tried and, if convicted, face a firing squad. That is the demand of the Nation and also fair. As for the PUK, “Yes”, indeed, it needs a “coup d'etat”. The whole leadership should be examined and, if their goals and actions do not correspond to the wishes of the Kurdish people, they should be removed from their posts and ejected from the party. That is the only way that the PUK can regain its credit and respect among the nation.
talsor | 21/11/2017
PUK has been and will always be a tool to make money for Talabni family . it is a family business for them and they should be ashamed of themselves even talking about Kurdistan anymore. These guys Qubat feminist , Ala talabani ( called Ala arab by kurds now ) and his mother and brother bavel Cocain openly sold Kirkuk and we will never forget that .By the way Nice Armani suit he is wearing that cost the salary of a peshmerga for an entire year .
Sad Kurd in USA | 21/11/2017
I hate to say this but you should put your mother and your brother in jail for selling Kirkuk for money. They have already stole millions of dollars they didn't need to sell kirkuk for more money. I hope and pray they will get what they desrve.
Shivan | 21/11/2017
First of all, PUK most end being family party, give chance to other members who have respect and trust among people, PUK most understand that they work for people, listen to people’s needs, these Hewler and sulaimani must end. We are all Kurds we must all unite. Know who are enemies are. Unlike Goran, they have so much hate for PDK that they have forgotten who the real enemies are. Second PUK must distance them selfs from Hashed, during ISIS attack back in 2014 they allowed Hashed in to tez kurmato to fight ISIS and resintly allowed Hashed into Earthquake hit ereas. We don’t need Hashed as long as we have each other. Third work on uniting peshmergas and bring it under Parliament control and help give parliament back to people, not being controlled by parties. Parliament is the voice of people which parties is being dictated by parties. Show people that you are putting Kurdistan and people first. That PUK is there for people, show them that PUK is there to serve people. I wish PUK the best and becom role model to rest of parties. After all we are all Kurds. In recent days we were shown how many are against our rights to live free, so we must unite.

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