ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan24) – The Kurdistan Region will officially raise the subject of self-determination with Turkey in 2017, said the Kurdish Prime Minister on Friday.
In an interview with Al-Monitor, the Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Nechirvan Barzani stated Kurdistan Independence would help bring stability to the Middle East.
“We cannot continue with the same model we had with Baghdad. The Kurdish issue in Iraq is an old one,” Barzani said.
“What I see as a roadmap is a very serious dialogue with Baghdad,” he continued. “This is the most important step.”
According to the PM, declaring independence would not be “viable” without consultation and dialogue with the federal government of Iraq.
PM Barzani explained that during his latest visit to Baghdad and his meeting with the Prime Minister of Iraq Haider al-Abadi, the desire for Kurdish independence was explicitly discussed.
“In the past, [independence] was conveyed through the media. Now, I am telling you officially our goal is independence, and we must establish a committee to discuss this,” he said.
Speaking of Sunni Arabs in Iraq, PM Barzani noted they had to decide what they wanted, claiming the future of Sunnis remained unclear.
Regarding disunity among the Kurdish parties in the Region, the PM said he expected no party to stand against independence.
“There is a unanimous consensus on this issue,” he stated, adding there had been no nation who declared independence without experiencing problems.
He also mentioned Turkey was one of the countries the KRG had to engage in dialogue with regarding Kurdistan independence.
PM Barzani revealed conversations about Kurdish sovereignty had not officially started yet but was in the plans for 2017.
“I think what has changed is before the topic was a red line for Turkey no matter what. But now I believe there is an opportunity to open this dialogue and get them to listen,” the PM added.
Commenting on the dialogue with Iran, PM Barzani stated Tehran had decided against Kurdistan independence from the very beginning.
“The Iranian media uses every opportunity to say Iran is opposed to [Iraqi] Kurdish independence even when it’s not on the agenda,” he continued.
“We need to have these discussions with the Iranians, but it seems even before we sit down and talk about it, they have decided against it,” the PM concluded.
Senior Kurdish officials, including the President of the Kurdistan Region Masoud Barzani, have continued to push the campaign for independence forward since the beginning of 2014.
“The people of the Kurdistan Region have the right to decide on their future,” the President had said earlier this year.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany