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Embroiled in Economic Crisis, Kurdistan Seeks Better Ties With Turkey

Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Prime Minister said his government wants to improve relations with Turkey after months-long rift triggered by an independence referendum by Iraqi Kurds in late September last year.

Speaking to press members following a cabinet meeting, Nechirvan Barzani underscored the need for closer cooperation and communication with Ankara amid festering regional challenges.

“Dialogue channels are always open between two sides. We wish to come together with officials in Turkey,” Mr. Barzani told reporters.
“But so far no date has been set for a visit to Ankara.”

The ill-timed referendum set off a cascade of rolling crises for Iraqi Kurds who have lost all the territory they acquired since 2014 in a bitter feud with Baghdad. The subsequent domestic turmoil recently unraveled into clashes between rival Kurdish factions, plunging the region into a prolonged state of chaos.

“We want the restoration of good ties with Turkey that existed in the past. Turkey is a very vital country for KRG,” the minister said.

He also repeated his call for holding negotiations with the central government in Baghdad for reconciliation.

Massoud Barzani, the outgoing president of the regional government, previously sent a letter to the Iraqi government for talks.

The prime minister said the Baghdad administration has still not delivered the payments of nearly 1,4 million public servants in the region. The central administration, he added, did not even pay to the farmers.

The Kurdish government wants to undo the calamitous effects of the referendum by seeking to reconcile with Baghdad and restore better ties with the neighboring countries, especially Turkey and Iran, the two states whose adamant objection played the vital role in blunting Kurds’ decades-long aspiration for full-fledged independence.

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