PUK’s Lahur Sheikh Jangi addresses fallout from intra-party turmoil in Eid message

Lahur Sheikh Jangi (File)

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SULAIMANI — Using a congratulatory message on the occasion of Eid al-Adha, Lahur Sheikh Jangi on Monday (July 19) apologized to the people of the Kurdistan Region for the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan’s (PUK) recent internal turmoil.

In a series of dramatic events that began almost two weeks ago, PUK Co-President Bafel Talabani and his younger brother Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani ousted Sheikh Jangi from his position as co-president of the party, replaced important security officials with loyalists, and raided a media outlet supportive of their rival.

In a video published on his Facebook account, Sheikh Jangi began by wishing a happy and peaceful Eid for the people of the Region, the families of martyrs, and members of the Peshmerga before going on to address a question that had been on many minds over the past two weeks: why had he not put up more resistance to the campaign to remove him from power?

Referring to the "events that began from the July 8th conspiracy," Sheikh Jangi claimed that he never has believed in using force to "settle partisan problems," saying that he believes that the Peshmerga and the security forces "should direct their weapons at the enemy when there is a threat to our Region and our citizens and that they should not allow me, nor anyone else in this Region, to exploit them for their personal interests."

He said that the lack of reaction on his part was due to his love for the Kurdistan Region and its people and to protect security and peace in Sulaimani and the Region more broadly.

"We were able through our silence to prevent a spilt in the part of our late great uncle, Mam Jalal," he added, referring to the late Jalal Talabani, who led the party for decades and is revered by the PUK’s grassroots.

He said that he had given up his powers as co-president with his own consent and "with a pure heart" while the party amends its internal leadership structure to reflect the new political reality within the party.

He added that he had requested a formal investigation by the party’s politburo into the "baseless accusations and propaganda" spread by some media outlets since July 8.

Sheikh Jangi said he will also resign as head of the Kurdistan Coalition, a joint electoral list between the PUK and the Change Movement (Gorran) that he helped broker for the upcoming federal parliamentary election in October.

(NRT Digital Media)

This story was updated at 1:39 p.m. EBL