KRG PM Nechirvan Barzani attended Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's inauguration in Ankara this week. File photo: KRG
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Kurdish parties in Turkey are hopeful KRG Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani can help pave the way for the resumption of the peace process between the Turkish state and the PKK.
“Of course, leniency in relations between Turkey and the Kurdistan Region is a good thing and we support it,” Masoud Tak, head of the Kurdistan Socialist Party (PSK), told Rudaw. “The visit Nechirvan Barzani paid to Turkey will lead and pave the way for the resolution of the Kurdish question through dialogue and a peaceful way in North Kurdistan.”
Kurds refer to the Kurdish areas of Turkey as North Kurdistan and those in Iraq as South Kurdistan.
Barzani attended the presidential inauguration ceremony of Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday in Ankara.
Speaking to reporters in Holland a day later, Barzani described his visit to Turkey as “very important.”
His last official visit to the northern neighbor was in April 2017.
The KRG has sought to maintain good ties with its northern neighbor, an important trading partner. Relations were strained last year, however, when Ankara opposed the Kurdistan independence referendum.
The Kurdistan Freedom Party (PAK) also welcomed Barzani’s visit, saying the normalization of ties between Ankara and Erbil means taking steps towards resolving the Kurdish question in Turkey.
Renewed fighting between PKK fighters and Turkish government in 2015 shattered a fragile peace process that was two years in the making. The negotiations had aimed at finally resolving the decades-old conflict.
“If relations become warm between Turkey and South Kurdistan, I believe it will affect North Kurdistan a hundred percent and relations between the state and North Kurdistan people will show some sort of leniency,” said Henif Turan, a leadership member of PAK.
The president of the Kurdistan Democratic Party in Turkey sees the Kurdish premier’s official visit to Ankara as the beginning of a new chapter in relations between the two sides since the September 2017 referendum on independence.
“If relations between the KRG and the Republic of Turkey as two neighbors or countries become better, it will definitely have a positive impact on the Kurdish question in Northern Kurdistan,” Sartaj Buchak told Rudaw.
He added that Erdogan and his party should “resume the policy of the peace process and democracy for the Kurdish nation and a political solution be found.”
More than 40,000 people have been killed in the more than three-decade-long conflict between Ankara and the PKK.
Barzani’s uncle, Masoud Barzani, backed previous peace efforts when Erdogan was prime minister of Turkey and Masoud was president of the Kurdistan Region. The elder Barzani joined Erdogan on stage in Diyarbakir in 2013, urging “my Kurdish and Turkish brothers to support the peace process.”
Erdogan hailed Masoud Barzani’s trip to Turkey, his first in two decades, as the “crown” on the peace efforts.