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Cousins’ Dispute in The Kurdistan Union Ends In Favor of Talabani’s Son

Cousins’ Dispute in The Kurdistan Union Ends In Favor of Talabani’s Son

Wednesday, 21 July, 2021 - 09:30
Bafel Talabani (right) and his cousin Lahore Sheikh Janki. (Asharq Al-Awsat)

Bafel Talabani, son of the late President Jalal Talabani, will tighten his grip on the Kurdistan National Union Party, which his father founded in 1975, after his cousin, Lahore Sheikh Janki, announced on Tuesday relinquishing the party’s co-chairmanship, two weeks after the eruption of a dispute between the two cousins.

In Feb. 2020, the political leadership of the National Union Party reached a formula for the joint leadership of the party, shared by Talabani and Sheikh Janki, before recent conflicts between the two parties hampered the agreement.

On Tuesday, Janki announced his withdrawal from the leadership of the Kurdistan electoral alliance to run in the parliamentary elections in Iraq.

He stressed that his move came as a result of his removal from the joint presidency of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan.

Addressing Kurdistan citizens, Janki said: “Through this opportunity (Eid al-Adha), my dear ones, I would like to apologize to you for the events that occurred in the July 8 plot and made you live moments of fear and anxiety.”

He continued: “I did not and will not believe in the use of force to resolve partisan problems, and I believe that the Peshmerga and the security forces should use their guns only to prevent threats to the region, the Kurdish citizens, and in the face of the enemies. Neither I nor anyone else should be allowed to use these forces for their own personal ends.”

For his part, Bafel Talabani stressed in a brief written message on the occasion of Eid al-Adha, on Tuesday that the “new union extends its hand to all and adopts the approach of dialogue and bridging the rift in order to serve the population.”

“I hope that we will make this holiday an opportunity to review our policies and formulate a new national strategy between the Kurdish political forces and parties, in order to overcome problems and obstacles together,” he added.

A source close to Sheikh Janki said that the latter’s removal from the leadership of the party occurred with the planning of the Talabani family. The source told Asharq Al-Awsat that media outlets close to the family have recently been active in accusing Sheikh Janki of conspiracy, espionage, and poisoning the family, in an attempt to discredit him and justify his dismissal.

In turn, a source close to the Union Party told Asharq Al-Awsat that resolving the conflict in favor of the sons of the party’s founder, Jalal Talabani, “was expected from the beginning, given the historical weight of the late founding president.”

“Lahore Janki was in control of the security and military wing of the Union Party, and had positions in support of the Turkish Kurdistan Workers’ Party, unlike the the Talabani family, which controls the financial and political arm, and does not sympathize much with the Workers’ Party,” according to the source.

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