World Bulletin / News Desk
The president of the autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government of northern Iraq, Masoud Barzani, is set to make a historic trip to the heart of Turkey’s predominantly south-eastern city of Diyarbakir on Saturday, where he will meet with the Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
It will be his first visit to the city as president, and he will bring with him the world-famous Kurdish singer Sivan Perwer, who will return to his homeland Turkey for the first time in 37 years after exiling himself to northern Iraq to escape persecution. Perwer will be singing a duet with another well-known Kurdish singer, Ibrahim Tatlises, at a mass wedding for 360 couples, which will also be attended by both leaders.
His visit is well-anticipated, with the 1,900 capacity Green Park Hotel he is scheduled to stay at already fully-booked, as Turkey and the Erbil-based Iraqi Kurdish government continue to build closer ties.
However, the planned meeting is already proving controversial, and is being looked down on by some Kurds, both inside and outside of Turkey, as a tactic to divide the Kurdish people. Ankara’s contrasting policy towards the Kurds of Iraq and the Kurds of Syria has caused a fierce debate, with many Kurds condemning Barzani for maintaining warm relations with Turkey, who they accuse of aiding Al-Qaeda linked groups in northern Syria against the armed Kurdish group, PYD.
Meanwhile, Barzani has also accused the PYD, which is led by Salih Muslim, for bullying other Kurdish groups in Rojava (Syrian Kurdistan) and allying themselves with Bashar al-Assad’s regime. He has also been critical of the armed Turkey-based Kurdish group, the PKK, for not conforming to the withdrawal agreement made between the Turkish government and the jailed PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan.
Barzani’s visit and alliance with Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) is expected to win a number of hardliner Kurdish voters over from the Kurdish separatist Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) ahead of the Turkish local elections, due to his strong influence over the Kurdish population of Turkey.Last Mod: 15 Kasım 2013, 14:36