During his visit to Ankara last week, Massoud Barzani, president of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), said the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which is outlawed in Iraq, should halt its armed violence.
“I will not let it [the PKK] dominate northern Iraq,” he said. What has happened? Why is Barzani speaking this way now? Circumstances in Iraq have changed. The United States has withdrawn most of its troops from the country. Shiites have become dominant in the country’s administration. There are efforts to exclude Sunni figures from this administration. Now the Iraqi administration is giving signals that it will follow ousted leader Saddam Hussein’s policy of alienating Kurds. Turkey, which shares a border with Iraq, is the most immediate source of support for Iraqi Kurds. And for Turkey, it is not possible to establish warm relations with northern Iraq as long as it hosts the PKK.