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In Quake, Turkey, Kurdistan Bury Disputes, Work Together for Relief Efforts

Just last month, the Turkish government threatened to take a military action to punish Kurdistan region of Iraq after an independence referendum. The referendum has almost undone decade-long cordial relationship cultivated between Ankara and Massoud Barzani-led Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).

But yesterday, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan tapped into the moment to offer condolences to the victims of a devastating earthquake that ravaged Suleymaniah and other Kurdish cities. Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim followed the suit and conveyed a condolence message.

The 7.3 magnitude of the earthquake hit hard western Iran and Iraqi north. More than 400 people were killed while thousands more wounded.

Turkey has immediately dispatched aid convoys to assist relief efforts, rescue and search activities and deliver food to the affected. That earned praise from Kurdish officials who felt abandoned and isolated when their Turkish allies sided with Iran and Iraq to crush an independent Kurdish state.

Speaking at a press conference in Erbil, KRG Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani thanked the Disaster and Emergency Authority (AFAD), and the office of President Erdogan for immediately contacting Kurdish authorities and sending aid to the region.

“Turkey helped the Kurdistan region in time of need. They decided to send aid at the moment quake occurred,” Mr. Barzani said.

AFAD said on Twitter that 5,000 tents, 7,000 blankets, 11 vehicles along with 92 rescue workers have been sent to the quake-hit region.

“Speical thanks to Turkey, AFAD [Turkey’s Disaster Management Agency] and Red Crescent for their quick response and support,” KRG Spokesperson Safeen Dizayee said on Twitter.

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