Selahaddin, IRAQ, May 24, 2003 - In a bid to strengthen ties in Iraq, the Turkish Foreign Affairs Delegation met with Iraq Kurdistan Democratic Party (IKDP) leader Mesud Barzani in Selahaddin yesterday.
Having issued harsh statements against Turkey before and during the Iraq War, Barzani has now softened his approach. He welcomed the Turkish delegation, saying, \"My old friends\" and \"We want to take relations with Turkey further. We will never forget what Turkey has done for us. A new page will be opened for IKDP and Turkey [relations].\"
Barzani hosted the Turkish Delegation, led by ambassador Ecvet Tezcan and including ambassador Selim Karaosmanoglu and Foreign Affairs Middle East Department Head, Kerim Uras, at the Selahaddin Party Meeting Room last night.
Barzani said, \'We will never forget Turkey\'s important role in protecting our region for 12 years.\' On the governorship elections due to take place in Kerkuk today, Barzani stated that the election would be exemplary in terms of democracy and freedom.
After Barzani, head of the delegation Ecvet Tezcan said: \"Years have added beautiful qualities to Mr Barzani. As Mr Barzani said, freedom and democracy have prevailed in this part of Iraq for 11 years. Today, I would like to thank him for saying that this has been realized with the support of Turkey and the Turkish Army. As Mr Barzani said, we are for a democratic and secular Iraq. I believe that the IKDP will contribute to Iraq, as a whole, with its experience in democracy and freedom.\"