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Matin Barzani

Massoud Barzani’s grand-nephew Matin Barzani is detained in Turkey and could face up to 7 years in jail if convicted of Arms-Smuggling. The news broke out on 12 March 2013 by Turkish newspaper Hurryiet.

This could be an extremely uncomfortable news to Massoud Barzani his uncle (“President” of Iraqi northern region of  Kurdistan since 1996).

Matin Barzani,  26 , who is also  Nechervan Barzani’s -Kurdistan Prime Minister- nephew was arrested in December 2012 with 2500 cartridges of Rifle ammunition “specially grooved” which he tried to hide in a laptop case.

massoud nichervan

Nichervan Barzani (L) and Massoud Barzani (R)

According to news agency, Kurdpress, “Matin Barzani was arrested and sent to the Edirne 1st Criminal Court on December 13, 2012, based on “strong suspicions” that he was trying to smuggle arms into Turkey without permission. Barzani was then sent to an Edirne prison, where he is still staying.”

Matin Barzani -who also holds an Austrian passport-  tried to smuggle ammunition illegally to Turkey with Iraq as his final destination. The confiscated ammunition is believed to be used with a  Mannlicher-Carcano 6.5 rifle. This Rifle which could be used for assassinations is an Italian-made weapon similar to the Rifle used to assassinate the former US President John F Kennedy.

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Mannlicher-Carcano 6.5 rifle

A video posted on Social media sites showed the Rifle Bullets (Live rounds) which Matin Barzani was carrying when he was detained at Ipsala Border Crossing along the Turlkish-Greek borders.

Charges are being pressed against Mr Barzani according to Turkish Firearms Act 6136  and 5607 law which prohibits arms smuggling.

Turkish Companies On The Firing Line

Barzani who is in prison since December 2012 could face a jail term of up to 7.5 years if convicted. Alongside the imprisonment, the embarrassment this could cause to the Barzani family and the political repercussions are not to be underestimated.

By taking such steps Turkey is defiantly taking a strong stance which could seriously impact the Turkey-Kurdistan relations.

matin barzani

The Turkish Newspaper Hurriyet headlines

With Turkish exports to Iraq reaching “$10.8bn in 2012, making Iraq Ankara’s second-most valuable export market after Germany” according to Financial Times Turkish companies will be a key factor in determining Turkey;s policy towards Iraq.

This means the Turks have a choice to continue escalating the tension with Iraqi central government and Mr Al-Maliki specifically, risking to “shut off Turkish companies from 80 per cent of Iraq’s markets” or take a more moderate route towards Baghdad which will anger the Kurds and Barzani in particular (although they probably have angered him already by sending his nephew to Edirne Prison in Turkey).

The Kurdistan based daily newspaper Hawlati published a statement made by a number of Kurdish MPs accusing Turkey of attempting to “isolate” the Kurds from the Iraqi political process by “instigating conflicts and creating problems”.

This statement is another sign of return to a tense and probably confrontational Tukish-Kurdish stand-offs. This is far from the cosy remarks by Turkish PM Erdogan, that “Turkey is supporting its neighbor [Kurdistan] in its need to trade and buying petrol in return”.

Last Updated: 18/03/2013

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