Turkey to Recognize Regional Kurdish Authority in Iraq

(Hurriyet)–Turkey’s Special Envoy to Iraq–Oguz Celikkol–met with Kurdish leader Mesut Barzani to discuss Turkey’s stance on the Kurdish Regional Authority based in Kirkuk–as well as the growing sectarian violence across Iraq. Barzani met with Celikkol in his official capacity as leader of the Iraqi Kurdistan Democratic Party.

Part of Celikkol’s message to Barzani was that Turkey would officially recognize Regional Kurdish Authority following implementation of the new Iraqi Constitution by the country’s parliament–and after a four month period during which certain changes may be made to the constitution. A top level Ankara official explained this part of the message as follows:

"We are required to accept a constitution which has been accepted by the Iraqis. Like other international societies–we too will recognize structures and organizations which are laid out in the Iraqi Constitution. And as for the four month period–there are not many changes expected in the Constitution anyway."

Regarding terror and security–Ankara will primarily be in contact with the central government in Baghdad–although "this does not represent a blockade to one on one contact between Ankara and local regional governmen’s within Iraq."

Notably–Celikkol issued a warning to Barzani from Turkey about violence in Kirkuk. Pointing at growing sectarian violence within Iraq–Celikkol stressed that a similar situation in the Kirkuk area would be extremely dangerous and underlined the necessity of maintaining ethnic balance in Kirkuk. Celikkol expressed to Barzani the importance of agreement among the ethnic Turkmen–Arab–and Kurdish populations in the region.

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