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Briefing on Barzani’s Ankara visit
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Briefing on Barzani’s Ankara visit

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The flying of the Kurdish flag ahead of the President of the Kurdistan Region of Northern Iraq Masoud Barzani’s visit to Ankara last weekend holds implications for the governing AKP’s attitude to the Kurdish question both domestically and abroad.

  • The Kurdish flag was flown to greet Barzani on his arrival to Istanbul, a first for Turkey, renewing speculation about the AKP’s stance on the Kurdish issue.
  • Turkey is clashing with Iran for influence over different Kurdish groups in the region and is also seeking Barzani’s cooperation on curtailing the PKK’s influence.
  • A return to peace talks between the state and the PKK may be on the horizon but this is complicated by Ankara’s need to balance multiple interests.

Last weekend President of the Kurdistan Region of Northern Iraq (KRI), Masoud Barzani, visited Istanbul then Ankara, meeting with President Erdogan among others. Security, the PKK presence in Sinjar, Turkey’s interest in Mosul, and terrorism were all reportedly areas of discussion. The visit caused controversy in Turkey, seeing the Kurdish flag flown at Istanbul’s Ataturk airport to greet Barzani on his arrival. Furious reactions came from even comparatively moderate Turkish nationalists.

Leader of the ultra-nationalist Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), Devlet Bahceli, who supports the government suggested the flying of the flag may…

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02 March 2017

Photo credit: Foto Haberler

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