Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan hailed Turkey as a rising democratic power at the Justice and Development Party (AKP)'s conference last week, claiming it has become an example to the Muslim world. Thousands of cheering members gathered at the congress, hosted at a sports stadium in Turkey's capital, Ankara. But criticism was vibrant on social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, accusing the Prime Minister of repressing Kurdish masses while advocating for the freedom of others, such as the Palestinians.
Kurds on social networking sites were divided on the presence of President Masoud Barzani of Kurdistan Regional Government at AKP's congress. At the conference, he was not recognised by his official title, as President of Kurdistan, but rather as President of Iraq's regional government.
Sinbad Dersimi de Bakur said Erdogan treated the President of Federal Kurdistan as his Northern Iraqi Mayor. Similarly Raoof Sofie was keen to point out that President Barzani should only attend a conference like this when AKP stops attacking Kurds, and shows substantial evidence of intending to resolve the Kurdish Issue.
The footage for President Masoud Barzani's speech is available online which has been subject to heated debates on social networking sites.
Hawar Ameen commented on President Masoud Barzani's visit, saying:
[It] makes me feel uneasy, to speak at a party that does not recognise him, his title, the flag of the country, the people he represents never mind the killing of innocent civillians makes it all a bit sick. Iraqi Kurdish leaders have a shameful history of sucking up to other leaders that would clearly stab them in the back at the first opportunity. Erdogan is the man that said he is against any idea of a Kurdish state even if it were next to Argentina. Where is the Kurdish solidarity? Will he exchange economic concessions for Turkish bombing raid in South Kurdistan or worse still fight PKK? All other variables aside, Erdogan is responsible for killing thousands of Kurds, and for this reason alone he should not attend.
Not everyone was critical of the visit by President Masoud Barzani. Humam Tahar believes a critical approach should be adopted towards building a peaceful future, and not living in the past. He added, the past and present should not be ignored but it is crucial to focus on the future of new generations and what is in the interest of Kurdish people.
Rebwar Waladbaigi said the invitation of President Barzani is to cause division among Kurdish people, and the buzz that has been generated since the conference is the result of a tactical invitation, diverting attention from the Kurdish people's situation.
A student of International Law, Rawezh Koyi added that there are two kinds of recognition (1) explicit recognition and (2) Implicit recognition. He pointed out that some achievements have been made, which are progressive. For instance, in the past Turkey denied the existence of Kurdish leaders, and this policy has changed now due to regional changes.
It is unclear to what extent President Masoud Barzani's presence at AKP conference will divide Kurdish people from South and North, but at this stage it is clear many Kurdish people from North Kurdistan feel betrayed. The division is not just among ordinary people, but even different political parties within Southern Kurdistan are in conflict regarding the visit of President Masoud Barzani to AKP's congress, including Patriotic Union of Kurdistan party (PUK).