Al-Monitor: Because they didn't want to support Erdogan becoming a "sultan"?
Barzani: The era of the sultan is over. On the contrary, if they had been part of the coalition, they could have said no to some of the issues that concerned them. I think that as long as there was a chance of them being in the parliament, to fight to make changes, they should have seized it. Now, I am very concerned and afraid. When we witness bombings in the cities, terror acts in the cities, in the name of obscure terrorist organizations, in the end they [the Turkish people] will hold all the Kurds responsible. And I fear that this will lead to ethnic conflict between the Kurds and Turks.
Al-Monitor: It appears that there is going to be more and more pressure on you from Turkey to take action against the PKK [Kurdistan Workers Party], maybe in Sinjar. Do you feel that pressure?
Barzani: No, we have our own agenda.
Al-Monitor: But I have heard your son Masrour Barzani [the KRG intelligence chief] say that the PKK has to leave Sinjar.
Barzani: Definitely, the PKK should leave Sinjar, and we want them to leave Sinjar peacefully — not by force.
Al-Monitor: And are the Americans intervening on your behalf on this matter?
Barzani: The Americans don't intervene in domestic territorial issues. But the Americans know that there is no value to the PKK presence in Sinjar.
Al-Monitor: How do you assess the recent declaration of a federal northern Syria?
Barzani: I believe that the concept of federalism suits the situation in Syria. But there must be consensus on this among the Syrians themselves. When we declared federalism in the Kurdistan region [in October 1992], we didn't do it unilaterally.
Al-Monitor: The Democratic Unity Party (PYD), which appears to be one of the driving forces behind this declaration, says it is committed to respecting other groups and to democracy.
Barzani: Through its actions on the ground, the PYD does not appear to be sincere about democracy.