Kurdish Official: world pays special attention to Kurds now

Fazil Mirani

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (K24) – Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) politburo secretary Fazil Mirani stated on Saturday that Kurdish politics has progressed, and international countries, including European countries and the United States, pay special attention to the Kurdistan Region and its Peshmerga forces.

On Saturday, in an exclusive interview with Kurdistan 24 TV channel, Mirani discussed the sovereignty of Iraq, following the Turkish forces deployment to northern Iraq. "The sovereignty of Iraq has been violated long time ago," he said, pointing to the issues between Iraqi Sunni and Shia groups in the country.

He talked about the role of KDP in the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) policies and compared it with other Kurdish political parties that, "If you have today, you can defend tomorrow [future] too. KDP has yesterday [history] and it would have effective policies for today and tomorrow too [sic].”

Mirani noted that the KDP has a history that pursues the policy of sharing achievements with all other Kurdish parties. He stressed that "KDP has a shared responsibility in the Kurdistan region," adding, "We as KDP won't escape from these responsibilities."

He mentioned that it is true that the KDP has abolished its agreement with Gorran party in the KRG cabinet, "but we are all members in this country we cannot abandon each other. Neither the KDP can do that nor Gorran or any other parties in the Kurdistan Region."

Regarding addressing the current political instability in the Kurdistan Region, Mirani said "Our [KDP's] door is open for dialogue and negotiation with all Kurdish parties.”

He mentioned that the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) is "passing through a different situation" after the Secretary General of the PUK Jalal Talabani fell ill, stating that, "We have to give them an opportunity to play their role in the government."

"KDP and PUK cannot rule without each other, even if one of them gains 60 seats of Kurdistan parliament [out of 111]," Mirani said, "It isn't a disrespect to other parties, but rather it is just the reality of the Kurdistan Region."

He called on "bilateral negotiation and dialogue" between the KDP and Gorran, without any pre-conditions.

Regarding the relation between KDP and Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), he stated that the history of PKK and the KDP differs from each other, "but this should not be a reason to reject each other." Mirani continued, "Kurdistan Region President Massoud Barzani has a clear policy. The entire world says PKK is a terrorist organization, but Barzani refused to say it or even admit it in the heart of Turkey [Ankara]."

"In the 1990s, PKK said that they will declare Kurdish independence, then they compromised to federalism, then to Kurdish national rights, later to self-administration, and finally to the liberation Ocalan [PKK jailed leader] and self-administration."

He underlined the importance of the Kurdish peace process in Turkey that "before the process, Kurdish parties were abandoned to do politics, but now the situation is changed."

Mirani touched upon the prevention of raising the Kurdistan Flag in Rojava (Syrian Kurdistan) where the Democratic Union Party (PYD) security prevented people to raise the flag on the national day of the Kurdistan flag on December 17, "I hoped that no other Kurdish parties will face such mistake. PKK has accepted this flag, and we have evidence for that. It is Kurdistan's flag, not KDP's… If tomorrow [in the future] they [PKK] established a Kurdish state, they have the right to have their own flag, but what has been committed against Kurdistan’s flag will cause them to lose peoples' support."

He noted that the flag has not been imposed on anyone, and no one can impose anything on PKK. Mirani hoped that a day would come where PKK would accept Kurdistan's flag."

The Kurdistan Region's financial crisis was another subject discussed in the interview; Mirani noted that all parties are to be accused of the crisis, not only KDP, as all parties are part of the current government.

He mentioned that the crisis has included all oil-rich countries, including Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, and Iran. "If the oil price didn't drop to today's extent, the Kurdistan Region wouldn't have been in need of Iraq's budget share now," he added.

Mirani said that it is important for all people of the Kurdistan Region to support the KRG, "because it is not only KDP's government but all parties are part of it.”

Regarding Erbil-Baghdad relations, he stated that Baghdad refuses to have Kurds as part of their government and "it is clearly seen in the Iraqi federal government policies."

Mirani stated that now the Kurdistan Region has gained the support of world countries including European countries and the United States. He mentioned that the KRG's policies are improved, and now the international community pays special attention to the Kurds and praises the role of the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in fighting against Islamic State (IS) insurgents.