Barzani has Called on Kurds to Back Peace Process with Ankara

barrzzThe president of Iraqi Kurdistan has called on Turkey’s Kurds to back a flagging peace process with Ankara, in a show of support for Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan’s bid to overcome a three-decade conflict.

Masoud Barzani made the announcement on Saturday during his first visit to Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s Kurdish-dominated southeast, in two decades.

Ankara hopes to use Barzani’s influence as a respected figure among Turkey’s Kurds to bring the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) back to the negotiating table.

“This is a historic visit for me … We all know it would have been impossible to speak here 15 or 20 years ago,” Barzani said, as members of the crowd waved green, white and orange Kurdistan flags.

“Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan has taken a very brave step towards peace. I want my Kurdish and Turkish brothers to support the peace process,” he said.