Turks, Kurds eternal brothers, Davutoğlu says after Barzani talks
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has praised growing cooperation between Turkey and Iraqi Kurds, saying after talks with visiting Kurdish leader Massoud Barzani that Turks and Kurds are "eternal brothers." Todayszaman reported
However, Davutoglu warned that this brotherhood is being threatened by one factor, namely terrorism carried out by the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) against Turkey from Kurdish-run northern Iraq, and said Turkey now expects the Kurdish administration to take a clear stance against terrorism and actively cooperate with Turkey on counterterrorism efforts.
"Irrespective of which country they live in, Turks and Kurds are eternal brothers. This eternal brotherhood must be further strengthened and carried into the future," Davutoğlu said at a joint news conference with Barzani late on Thursday, noting that the Turkish-Kurdish cooperation is significant as the Middle East goes through a historic transformation.
"The most important factor that threatens this brotherhood is terrorism," he went on to say, announcing that Turkey and Iraqi Kurds will fight against the PKK together. "We would like to say that all Turks and Kurds, Turkey and the Iraqi Kurdish regional administration, will act together against terrorism."
Barzani said for his part that nothing will be allowed to destroy the long-standing Turkish-Kurdish brotherhood. "Our security is interlinked. We will take every measure to further strengthen our security," he said.
Barzani arrived in İstanbul on Thursday for talks on cooperation against the PKK, which uses its bases in the mountains of northern Iraq as a springboard for attacks on Turkey. A PKK attack last month resulted in the deaths of 24 Turkish soldiers, prompting a cross-border offensive by the Turkish military in northern Iraq.
Nechirvan Barzani, Massoud Barzani's nephew and a senior official of in the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), rushed to Ankara following the attack to express solidarity. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who will meet Barzani on Saturday, said at the time that he invited Barzani to discuss cooperation against the PKK.
Ankara has complained about the Iraqi Kurdish regional administration's inaction on the PKK's presence in northern Iraq in the past, but, as relations have improved over the past years, Turkish officials are now seeking cooperation with the Kurdish government and Kurdish peshmerga forces in the fight against the PKK, designated as a terrorist group by Turkey, the US and the European Union.
Davutoglu reiterated that Turkey expects the Kurdish administration to take a clear stand against the PKK. "It is our right to expect everyone to take a clear stance against this terrorist organization," he said. "We expect the Kurdish administration to offer active support and solidarity."
The foreign minister told Barzani that the Kurdish administration can no longer remain "neutral" toward the PKK's activities, Turkish officials close to the talks said of Thursday evening's meeting. Davutoglu also said the dispatch of Nechirvan Barzani to Ankara right after last month's deadly attack was a positive step and asked the Iraqi Kurdish leader for a continuation of such steps.