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Barzani: Turkey Should Get Used To Kurdish State
Zaman- Feb 4, 2005-Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) leader Massoud Barzani has said it is unacceptable for Turkey to declaring Kirkuk as a "red line".
Turkey should not interfere with Iraq's internal affairs, Barzani said: "It is our very natural right to have a state. This fact should be seen from now on and accepted." Barzani spoke to Zaman at his compound in Erbil yesterday (February 3) where he spoke about a possible Kurdish state and Kirkuk. Barzani said their first priority at this moment is a federal Kurdish state: "We cannot agree with Turkey on two issues. One is the Kirkuk issue and the other is the situation of a federative Kurdistan within Iraq." The Kurdish leader expressed that they do not want Ankara to intervene in the region and added that Turkish military intervention in the region might be tragic for both parties.
Barzani said he does not know when they will become independent and argued that harsh statements by Turkish authorities regarding northern Iraq are based on "some problems stemming from internal affairs." The Kurdish leader also touched upon Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's harsh remarks about the Iraqi elections and Kirkuk: "Prime Minister Erdogan is also a leader who came to power through an election. Thus, he knows very well what the will of the people means." With regard to claims that the elections in Kirkuk, where over a hundred thousand Kurds were registered, were illegitimate, Barzani reiterated: "Those who voted in Kirkuk are all residents of Kirkuk. Those who had to flee from there had already cast their votes. There is not a single non-Kirkuk resident among those who voted." When asked, "You had problems with the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) leader Jalal Talabani. Is is possible that such a situation might reoccur in the new term?" the KDP leader replied: "There have been no conflicts between us since 1998. I hope there will be none in the future as well." In reference to PUK leader Talabani's candidacy for Iraqi prime ministry or presidency, Barzani said: "We want to be represented at the top-level in Iraq. Hence, I myself have asked Talabani to become a candidate for presidency."
When asked whether or not they will meet with Turkmen after the elections and how they will direct their relations with Turkey, Barzani answered: "The Turkmen are our brothers. We will protect their rights as much as they [protect] their own rights. We protected their rights in the past and will do so today as well. I hope relations with Turkey will be better from now on." Barzani emphasized that relations between Kurdistan and the US are very strong and deeply rooted and said the US should not withdraw from the region until terrorism is eliminated.