Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has re-ceived Nechirvan Barzani, the President of Kurdi-stan, an autonomous region of Iraq, at his residence in Ankara, the Turkish president’s office said on Tuesday. No official statements on the details of the meeting have yet been made.
The last meeting of Erdogan and Barzani was held in September 2020. The sides deliberated on bilateral relations between Turkey and Iraqi Kurdi-stan and ways to enhance them.
Iraqi Kurdistan views Turkey as an important trading partner, with Erbil seeking to maintain good relations with Ankara. Nonetheless, the cooperation is hampered by Turkey’s protracted struggle against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has for decades striven for the autonomy of Turkish Kurdi-stan from the central government.
Erdogan said Wednesday that operation Winter Eagle, conducted by the Turkish Air Force in north-ern Syria and Iraq against Kurdish militias, had been successfully completed.
The military conflict between Turkey and PKK began in 1984 and entered one of its deadliest phases in 2015. PKK military bases are located in the northern part of Iraq, which are being targeted by the Turkish armed forces. Erdogan has said that since July 2015, 6,000 PKK members have been killed in Turkey and 6,900 outside the country’s borders. Turkey has lost more than 1,200 military personnel.—APP