Turkey ready for ‘independent Kurdistan’ discussion: PM Barzani

Kurdistan Regional Government Prime Minister Nechervan Barzani.

Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani said the Turkish government was ready to listen to the idea of an independent Kurdistan while denying claims that an official discussion had already been conducted between the KRG and the Turkish state.

Speaking to US based online news site philly.com, Barzani said that a referendum will be organised this year in Iraq’s Kurdistan region to show the whole world what the Kurds want.

“We can’t go back to the old days. Iraq after Mosul is not the same as Iraq before Mosul,” Barzani said.

The Kurdish Prime Minister also said that they wanted to develop a serious dialogue with Baghdad in order to achieve a permanent solution, but that a productive relationship between Erbil and Baghdad had not been established yet.

Earlier in March Massoud Barzani – KRG President and uncle of Nechirvan – had visited Ankara to meet with both President Erdogan and Prime Minister Yildirim. The fact that a KRG flag was raised at the airport upon Barzani’s arrival caused uproar as ultra-nationalist leader Devlet Bahceli of the Nationalist Movement Party criticised the government for acknowledging the existence of a Kurdish entity.

Turkey enjoys a close relationship with the Kurdish administration in Iraq’s north while President Erdogan has openly declared on several occasions that “we will never allow for a Kurdish entity along our border” for Kurdish autonomy in the north of Syria.

Last year over a thousand people were killed – in what a UN report later called “extremely alarming actions by security forces” – in clashes between the Turkish army and Kurds who sought self-rule in Turkey’s Kurdish-majority eastern cities.