Turkey, Middle East

Iraq's Kurdish authority reaches deal on Gulen schools

President of Kurdish region says agreement will not damage students

24.08.2016
Iraq's Kurdish authority reaches deal on Gulen schools Massoud Barzani, president of the Kurdish Regional Government,

Ankara

By Idris Okuducu

ANKARA

The Kurdish government in northern Iraq has reached an agreement with Turkey over schools linked to the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), said to be behind last month’s attempted coup.

Massoud Barzani, president of the Kurdish Regional Government, made the announcement on Wednesday following meetings with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Prime Minister Binali Yildirim in Ankara.

“We discussed the situation of Gulen’s schools in the Kurdish region,” he said, referring to FETO’s U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gulen. “We have come to an agreement to solve the problem without damaging the students in those schools.”

Gulen’s movement controls a network of schools around the world and following the July 15 coup attempt, which saw more than 240 people killed, Turkey has demanded the schools be removed from under the control of FETO.

Barzani, who has been president of the Kurdish region since 2005, said he had passed on his condolences for those killed during the failed coup before adding that the main item on the agenda of his two-day visit was counter-terrorism.

“We agreed how to cooperate to combat Daesh,” he said in a news conference. “Because big changes in the region have been at the door, we need solidarity and cooperation more than ever.”

Barzani’s comments came as Turkey backed a Free Syrian Army assault on the Daesh-controlled city of Jarabulus near the Turkish border. Kurdish and Iraqi forces are also preparing an attack on Mosul, the terror group’s de facto capital in northern Iraq.

The Kurdish territory in northern Iraq also hosts PKK camps in the Qandil mountains. The PKK is listed as a terror group by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU.

Barzani said the “solution process”, which came to a halt when the PKK resumed its armed campaign in July last year, needed “more effort and time”.

He added: “Unfortunately, the developments in the meantime were not good.”

Following a later meeting with Parliamentary Speaker Ismail Kahraman, Barzani visited parts of the parliament building damaged in bombing raids during the coup attempt.

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