Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Erdogan Discusses with Macron Mediation Plan between Irbil, Baghdad | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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A man rides a motorcycle past a banner that reads ‘Yes for the independence of Kurdistan’ in Kirkuk, Iraq September 10, 2017. (Reuters)

Ankara, Irbil – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan held telephone talks on Saturday with his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron on the latest developments in the aftermath of the Kurdish independence referendum.

Turkish sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that the two officials addressed Macron’s initiative to mediate between Irbil and Baghdad.

For his part, Erdogan stressed Turkey’s commitment to the unity of Iraq and Syria.

Ankara had voiced its support for France’s initiative, saying however that it was not enough to resolve the crisis caused by the referendum.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu had held talks in Paris on Thursday with French FM Jean-Yves Le Drian on the Kurdish developments. He expressed Turkey’s support for all efforts that would resolve the problem, noting however that a single country alone cannot resolve this issue.

Baghdad and Ankara had openly rejected the referendum.

The problem should be resolved through the Iraqi constitution, added Cavusoglu.

He also demanded that the Kurdistan region set a deadline for backing down from the “erroneous” referendum.

Erdogan urged during a meeting for his Justice and Development Party Kurdistan President Masoud Barzani to also go back on the vote “otherwise you will be alone and isolated.”

He said that Turkey is determined to stand against all powers that are threatening its internal and external security.

Barzani meanwhile announced on Saturday that Irbil will not close the door against dialogue with Baghdad.

“Kurdistan always wants to resolve its differences with Baghdad through dialogue. We want to end problems with it through negotiations,” he added while placing a wreath of flowers on the tomb of late Iraqi President Jalal Talbani in the city of al-Suleimanieh.

Iraqi Vice President Iyad Allawi revealed that efforts are ongoing to resolve disputes between the two sides.

Barazani and Allawi had held a meeting in al-Suleimanieh to address the latest Iraqi developments. This marks that first meeting between an Iraqi and Kurdish official since the September 25 referendum.

An overwhelming majority of Kurds voted in favor of independence.