The recently inaugurated leader “also stressed the need to diversify the economy, by developing the fields of agriculture, industry, and tourism, in particular.”
A diverse economy, Barzani explained during the meeting, “would help ensure that the Kurdistan Region is not dependent on revenue from oil and gas alone.” He welcomed Turkey’s engagement in this important area.
He also “called for improved travel links between Turkey and the Kurdistan Region, and urged Ambassador Yildiz to help address recent reports of travel difficulties.”
Over the past few years, Turkey has carried out military operations against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) fighters based within the Kurdistan Region with continued regularity.
Turkish forces have crossed into the region up to 30 kilometers deep in some areas to target the group.
Such attacks have led to the evacuation of many villagers from the Kurdistan Region as Ankara’s warplanes continue to damage residential and agricultural lands, and, on occasion, kill civilian bystanders about whom there are no claims of PKK affiliation.
The PKK has been engaged in a decades-long insurgency against Turkey over Kurdish rights and self-rule since the early 1980s in a conflict that has resulted in the death of over 40,000 people on both sides.
Turkey, the European Union, and the United States have designated it a "terrorist organization."
Aggrieved locals have long urged both sides to take their conflict elsewhere.
In meeting with Yildiz, PM Barzani “raised concerns about victims caught in the crossfire of armed clashes in the border regions,” and “called for all sides to respect the territorial integrity of the Kurdistan Region.”
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany