ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Masrour Barzani, prime minister of the Kurdistan Region, met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara on Thursday as part of the first foreign trip he has made since taking his current post as the top Kurdish politician.
The two leaders discussed bilateral relations between Erbil and Ankara as well as general developments in the region, with a focus on the Kurdistan Regional Government's (KRG) role in the Middle East, according to information supplied to Kurdistan 24 by Barzani's office.
In the meeting, Prime Minister Barzani affirmed that the Kurdistan Region would continue to act as a stabilizing influence on security in the area. He also stressed the KRG's preparedness to further develop mutual cooperation, especially in terms of trade and the economy.
Earlier in the day, after first arriving in Turkey, Barzani met with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu.
In a press conference following his meeting with Cavusoglu, Barzani said, "We had an in-depth political and economic discussion," and added that "maintaining security and stability in the region is in the interest of all sides."
He said during the press briefing that he had discussed the situation in northern Syria, where Turkey and its proxy Syrian militias launched an offensive last month against the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), aimed at establishing a so-called "safe zone" along the Turkish border. Two separate ceasefire deals brokered by the US and Russia appear to have had few lasting effects.
The Kurdistan Region and Turkey maintain strong economic and trade relations. Ties between the two became tense following Kurdistan's September 2017 referendum on independence, which Turkey strongly opposed. Since then, however, relations have improved significantly and trade remains robust.
Editing by John J. Catherine