As Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Iraqi Kurdistan Region prime minister Masrour Barzani met in Istanbul, Turkey, on Friday, some basic rules of diplomatic protocol were violated, according to a report by Mezopotamya News Agency (MA).
The flag of Iraqi Kurdistan was not present in the meeting room that was decorated only with the Turkish flag, and the seating was arranged to accentuate Erdoğan’s higher status against others including Masrour Barzani, MA reported.
While Erdoğan sat in a single throne-like chair at the end of the room, Hakan Fidan, the head of the Turkish national intelligence agency (MİT), also sat alone, and the Iraqi Kurdistan delegation sat in a row on the opposite side.
The meeting was organised right after Erdoğan’s visit to a military base in Turkey’s Kurdish-majority district of Yüksekova (Gever).
The district is only a few km from the Iraqi Kurdistan border, where Turkish military activities have been ramped up within the last couple of weeks. The recent cross-border troop and armoured vehicle dispatches by Turkey reportedly signal an imminent wave of new attacks against the positions of the Kurdistan Workers’s Party (PKK), while peshmerga units of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) are expected to provide support for the Turkish military in the attacks.
After the Istanbul meeting, a tweet by the Kurdistan Regional Government said:
“In the meeting, recent developments in Iraq and the wider region were discussed, alongside the strengthening of bilateral ties, with an emphasis on increasing cooperation on security in the region.”