Ankara tells Barzani to 'know his place'

Iraqi Kurdish leader Massoud Barzani's stubborn stance regarding the disputed Kirkuk will serve nothing, but can only lead to the loss of the last trace of stability in Iraq, say sources in Ankara.

 Ankara tells Barzani to 'know his place'
Iraqi Kurdish leader Massoud Barzani's stubborn stance regarding the disputed northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk will serve nothing, but his persistence in behaving in this fashion can only lead to the loss of the last trace of stability in Iraq, say official sources in Ankara.

Barzani, president of the de facto autonomous Kurdish region in northern Iraq, said in remarks broadcast on Saturday that Turkey must not interfere in the Iraqi Kurds' bid to attach the oil-rich city of Kirkuk to the de facto autonomous Kurdish zone while adding threateningly that if they were deterred by Turkey, Iraq's Kurds would retaliate by intervening in Turkey's Southeast."We will not let the Turks intervene in Kirkuk," Barzani said in an interview with the Arab satellite television station Al-Arabiya. "Kirkuk is an Iraqi city with a Kurdish identity, historically and geographically. All the facts establish that Kirkuk is part of Kurdistan."

The Turkish capital's anger was obvious early on Sunday, with diplomatic sources immediately responding to Barzani's remarks, although to date Turkish diplomats have refrained from accepting Barzani as a counterpart and responding to similar remarks.

Also on Sunday, Barzani said Kurds have the right to found a state of their own and that this could be possible in 10-15 years, the ANKA news agency reported, citing a report by the Peyamner news agency, an Arbil-based online organization known as the media organ of Barzani's Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP). "Turkey's issue is not Kirkuk and the [outlawed] Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), but the existence of the Kurdish people," he was also quoted as saying.

"Turkey has never assumed a policy or even a wording that would harm brotherhood of Turks and Kurds. Now the sole reason for Barzani to make such an inappropriate statement is his panic due to the rising awareness of the international community of what is going on in Kirkuk, of the fact that there is a fait accompli that is desired to take place. But we have always said that Kirkuk is an Iraqi city," diplomatic sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Today's Zaman.

"We have no secret agenda concerning Kirkuk and Iraq, but those who put the blame on us have an agenda about the city [Kirkuk] which is in line with their expansionist policies. We're concerned that if they go on like this, in addition to the ongoing sectarian clashes, ethnic clashes will emerge that will spell the loss of the last tiniest bit of stability in the country," the same diplomatic sources added.

"Turkey is not allowed to intervene in the Kirkuk issue and if it does, we will interfere in Diyarbakir's issues and other cities in Turkey," Barzani said. Diyarbakir is the largest city in Turkey's Kurdish-dominated Southeast. Asked if he meant to threaten Turkey, Barzani responded that he was just telling Ankara what would happen "if Turkey interferes." He said Turkey had military and diplomatic clout but that the Kurds had survived through the Saddam Hussein regime and that what happened in Kirkuk was "none of their (Ankara's) business."

"Turkey will not hesitate to take necessary precautions so that Barzani can't even spell the 'D' of Diyarbakýr. Barzani should know his place and should not dare spell Diyarbakýr's name in a sentence like that," the diplomatic sources said, reflecting anger in the Turkish capital over the remarks. "If he presents it solely as an issue 'concerning a few thousands of Turkmen,' then he will remain under the weight of instability that he will [cause]," they added. Turkey has always said that Kirkuk is an Iraqi city, the same sources emphasized, and underlined the fact that what matters for Ankara is protection of stability and territorial integrity in the neighboring country. "If he has not already learnt, he should draw a lesson from the experiences of Milosevic and Saddam, who led to the devastation of their own people."

Source: Today's Zaman

Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16