Barzani Plays Mediator Between Baghdad And Ankara

davutuğluKurdistan Region President of Kurdistan Region Masoud Barzani has reportedly told Turkish authorities to resolve problems with Baghdad through dialogue and mutual understanding.

Barzani arrived in the Turkish capital Ankara on Wednesday to hold a series of meetings with Turkish officials.

The Kurdish leader has met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Turkish Prime Minister Ahmed Davutoğlu. The officials have focused on the Kurdish issue in Turkey and attempts to seek peace with Kurdish militants in the country’s restive east, demanding more political autonomy from Ankara.

Barzani said Kurdistan will remain neutral in a row between Baghdad and Ankara over Iraqi objections to Turkish troops training Peshmerga forces near Mosul. But speaking among the reporters, he also added that they urged Ankara to resolve the issue with Baghdad through dialogue.

Davutoglu announced that Turkey’s head of National Intelligence Hakan Fidan and Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Feridun Sinirlioglu would travel to Baghdad on Thursday in a bid to normalize relations with Iraq’s central government, which has condemned Turkey’s military action in Mosul province.

Turkish soldiers were deployed to provide training for local forces in an area near the northern Iraqi city of Mosul last week, according to Ankara. Baghdad gave Turkish troops 48 hours to leave Iraq, following a meeting Sunday by Iraq’s National Security Council.

“Before, there were agreements between Turkey and Baghdad and local authorities of Mosul over training (Sunni) Arab volunteers to be well-prepared for an anticipated battle for Mosul,” Barzani told Rudaw.

Davutoğlu has reportedly reassured Iraq that Turkish troops would not be sent into the city of Mosul without Baghdad’s consent.

“There will be no deployment of forces to Bashika (Mosul city) until the sensitivities of Iraq are addressed,” Davutoğlu said.