Regional equation in the light of Massoud Barzani's visits to Tehran-Ankara

November 22, 2011, Tuesday/ 10:52:00

On October 29th, Massoud Barzani, the leader of the Kurdish Regional Government, went to Iran's capital Teheran for a three-day visit. After his visit to Teheran, Barzani is expected to come to Turkey. Nechervan Barzani had paid a visit to Turkey on October 20th.

Massoud Barzani made a comprehensive tour of negotiations in his visit to Iran. Besides Mahmoud Ahmedinejad, the President of Iran; Barzani also met Ayatollah Ali Khamanei, the religious leader of Iran; Ali Akbar Salihi, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Iran; Said Celili, the Secretary General of the Iranian National Supreme Security Council; and Ali Larijani, the Iranian Government's Spokesman. The main agenda topic of the talks was the issues such as; withdrawal of the U.S. troops from Iraq, Iraq-Iran relations, and fight against the PJAK/PKK terrorist organizations. In his statement after the meeting, the fact that Hamaney said Iran would support a one-piece and stable Iraq served as a message to the Kurdish Regional Government. Once, the Kurdish Regional Government's discourses of independence were frequently mentioned. On the other hand, the fact that Mahmoud Ahmedinejad, the President of Iran underlined the unity and solidarity of ethnic groups in Iraq and stated they should serve to the Iraqi in this sense, was such as to give a sign related to Iran's Iraqi policy. In this sense, it can be said that Turkey and Iran got on the same line in terms of Iraq's territorial and political integrity. Because Turkey always explicitly emphasizes Iraq's territorial and political integrity and she designs her policy accordingly.

On the other hand, the fight against the PJAK/PKK terrorist organization came to the forefront as a result of Barzani's visit to Iran. Barzani stated that this problem was solved, there would not be any problem in the future, and that they would have safe borders. Stating this happened as a result of an agreement, Barzani mentioned that breaking this agreement would not be easy, the issue of PJAK terrorist group was over, and that now, they hope to solve the PKK problem. Considering the statements of Barzani, his mentioning the agreements signed with PJAK is interesting. The fact that Nechervan Barzani, who paid a visit to Turkey in the past few days, also mentioned the agreement between PKK terrorist groups and Turkey should not be considered as a coincidence. These statements, which were made at high level by the Kurdish Regional Government, can be counted as an intention indicator. At this point, Massoud Barzani, who is expected to visit Turkey, could be expected to offer an agreement to be made with PKK terrorist organization as a concrete suggestion. In recent period, Barzani administration also gave the signs of concrete steps. Considered in terms of Kurdish Regional Government; Barzani's assuming role as a “mediator” on such an agreement can be assessed as a policy that could lead Barzani to gain supporters on Kurdish policy in the region. Furthermore, even if not a complete withdrawal; considering that the U.S. troops will lose their influence after declining their power in Iraq, the fact that Massoud Barzani keep his relations warm with Turkey and Iran and his minimizing the threat perceptions of these two countries with the solutions he would create towards the problems is quite important for the Kurdish Regional Government. In this regard, the fact that Massoud Barzani, who went to Kirkuk before paying visit to Iran, came together with the representatives of all the groups in Kirkuk, and he gave moderate messages grabs the attention. Although Turkey's sensitivity towards Kirkuk and Turkmen is known; Iran is also sensitive on Kirkuk. As a matter of fact, the fact that Nouri Al-Maliki the Prime Minister of Iraq, having good relations with Iran, stated Kirkuk's affiliating to Kurdish Regional Government is not possible, is important. From this point of view, the fact that Barzani will pay a visit to Turkey right after Iran indicates Barzani's attaching importance to Turkey-Iran balance in the region.

Nevertheless, it is thought that the Kurdish Regional Government should adopt clearer attitudes in its regional policy. While positive messages are give towards Turkey; the actual state continues in a contrary way to Turkey. The armed attacks of PKK terrorist organization against Turkey from  northern Iraq still continues. What is more, while the supporters of PKK terrorist organization organize demonstrations in front of the Turkish Consulate in Arbil, any precaution is not taken against these demonstrations, and in fact, these demonstrations are broadcast on the website of KDP such as to give support. What is more important is that the news related to earthquake in Van are given under the title of “Kurdistan”. The Kurdish Regional Government keeps the same method in the domestic policy of Iraq as well. In his visit to Kirkuk, while Barzani gave moderate messages to the groups living in this province, on the other hand the authorities of Kurdish Regional Government have talks on the implementation of the Article 140 of the Iraqi Constituion, against which the Arab and the Turkmen in Kirkuk oppose. It is possible to multiply these examples. However, it is thought that this policy will not do any good for either sides. In this regard, it is considered that Barzani and his administration had better place their cards on the table. The policy in the region is so tense that it can no longer endure little tricks. Therefore, it can be foreseen that a wrong step to be taken by any of the sides could shake all the balances in the region at its core.


1), Erişim: 31 Ekim 2011.

2), Erişim: 31 Ekim 2011.

3)For the statements of Nechervan Barzani, see. “Barzani, PKK Çözüm İçin En Kısa Yoldur”,, Erişim: 31 Ekim 2011.

4), Erişim: 31 Ekim 2011.

5), Erişim: 31 Ekim 2011.

»» Bilgay DUMAN, ORSAM Middle East Expert

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