Report: Late Turkish President proposed to annex Iraqi Kurdistan

Report: Late Turkish President proposed to annex Iraqi Kurdistan
Update: 23 August 2022 21:11
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Former President of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq said that Turkish President Turgut Ozal wanted to attach the region to Turkey and asked him to discuss the issue with the US administration

Late Turkish President Turgut Ozal proposed an “annexation of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) in a federal or confederal system” and asked a KRI leader to tackle the issue with the US government, Rudaw reported

In a book called “Barzani and the Kurdish Liberation movement”, former KRI President Masoud Barzani revealed a previously unknown conversation with Turgut Ozal, Turkey’s deceased president who was famous for his bold proposals regarding the Kurdish issue. 

“After the Raperin (the Kurdish uprising in Iraq in 1991) the first stop in my foreign visits was Turkey. (...) We flew to Diyarbakir and then to Ankara with an American helicopter. On February 21, 1992, we met with President Turgut Ozal. (...) He was very open with us. He spoke very bravely about the situation in Turkey and how the Kurds were persecuted,” Barzani said.

According to the book, Ozal said: “There are a few articles in the Turkish constitution, I feel that there is a great exclusion when I read it alone. Even though it takes time, we need to change this twisted mentality. I will mobilize all my efforts for this purpose.”

Barzani said after several visits in Europe and America, he came once again in 1992 to Istanbul to meet with President Ozal, and this time Ozal came up with striking proposals: 

“When you visit the US, ask the Americans their views on the annexation of Iraqi Kurdistan to Turkey through a federal or a confederal system. Because the break-up of the Mosul province was a great injustice to Turkey.” 

Ozal said he also talked about this with Jalal Talabani, the leader of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) at the time and later President of Iraq. 

Barzani said he was surprised that this issue was brought up so openly, but still he agreed with Talabani to talk over the proposal with the American officials during a visit to the US.

“Together with Mam Jalal (Talabani), we conveyed Turkey's demands to the Americans. They stated that this was a big issue, required extensive review and they would send us their answers later. But they didn't answer after that, so we never talked about it again."