Upon an official invitation from Turkey’s Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and World Economic Forum Chairman Professor Klaus Schwab, Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani headed a KRG delegation to participate in the World Economic Forum’s event in Istanbul.
The delegation met with Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the sidelines of the event.
Meeting with President Erdogan
In the meeting both sides discussed the latest political developments in the Kurdistan Region, Iraq, and the Middle East in general, with particular emphasis on the terrorist attacks on the provinces of Ninevah and Salahaddin and later on the Kurdistan Region. They also discussed ongoing fighting between the Peshmerga forces and the terrorists, noting the significant territory that has been reclaimed by the Peshmerga. The political process in Iraq and its new government, headed by Prime Minister Haider Abadi, was also a topic in the meeting.
President Erdogan assured the KRG delegation that Turkey would enhance its relations with the Kurdistan Region in a better way and reiterated Turkey’s commitment to the bilateral relationship and agreements made with the Kurdistan Region across all sectors. He noted the importance of helping and supporting the Kurdistan Region even more because of the recent attacks. The President stated that Turkey has thus far provided a great deal of humanitarian aid and promised that his country would continue providing such assistance. He added that his country is in close coordination with the coalition forces in confronting terrorism and that this coordination will also include the Kurdistan Region in order to combat any threats to the broader Middle East region.
Prime Minister Barzani thanked President Erdogan for his stance and for his country’s assistance, adding that the Kurdistan Region seeks further support and assistance from Turkey. He agreed on the importance of further expanding the economic and political relationship with Turkey. Regarding relations with Baghdad, the Prime Minister noted that the Kurdistan Region chose to participate in the new Iraqi government to give the government a chance to resolve outstanding issues between Erbil and Baghdad. This would lead to better ties among Turkey, Iraq, and the Kurdistan Region, he said.
On the sidelines of the World Economic Forum event the delegation met with a number of heads of state and senior officials from across the world and also attended a dinner hosted by President Erdogan in honour of the participants of the event.
Meeting with World Economic Forum Chairman Professor Schwab
In the morning the delegation held a meeting with World Economic Forum Chairman Professor Klaus Schwab. In the meeting they discussed the latest political and security developments, and Professor Schwab praised the progress that has been achieved in the Kurdistan Region. He also lauded the KRG for generously sheltering more than a million Iraqi IDPs and Syrian refugees. He explained that the Kurdistan Region has garnered praise and gratitude from the entire international community because of this humanitarian gesture.
Professor Schwab stated that he hopes the international community and donor countries will pay more attention to the Kurdistan Region, adding that he wishes to visit in the near future. Prime Minister Barzani extended him an official invitation, adding that the KRG would be pleased to host a World Economic Forum event one day.
Prime Minister Barzani was accompanied by Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani, Minister of Natural Resources Dr Ashti Hawrami, Minister of Finance and Economy Rebaz Mohammad Hamalan, Minister of Planning Dr Ali Sindi, Head of the KRG Department of Foreign Relations Minister Falah Mustafa and KRG Spokesperson Minister Safeen Dizayee.
The KRG delegation participated in a number of different sessions and panels at the event and in meetings on the sidelines on a wide range of subjects.