Jalal Talabani, a former President and first Kurdish political leader of Iraq, has passed away on Tuesday at the age of 83, according to family members.
Talabani was born on November 12, 1993 in the northern Iraqi city of Sulaymaniyah.
Talking to the Associated Press, Talabani’s relative confirmed his death in Berlin after his health rapidly deteriorated. Talabani had a stroke in 2012 and was moved to Germany for treatment. He was replaced in 2014 by President Fuad Masum.
Ex-President was a key figure in the transitional governing council, which drafted the new Constitution of Iraq following the overthrow of Saddam Hussein in 2003. He was later voted into what was supposed to be a largely ceremonial position of President of Iraq by the country’s newly constituted Parliament in 2005.
Talabani took up arms against the central government and survived a civil war between Kurdish factions in the 1990s, where he led the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK).
After becoming President, Talabani attempted to steer a divided nation through years of civil war and insurgency led by al-Qaeda in Iraq, the so-called DAESH and the conflagration initiated by the American occupation.
His death came after the illegal independence referendum that took place in northern Iraq’s KRG-controlled regions, on September 25.
Turkish leaders express condolences
Both President Erdogan and Prime Minister Binali Yildirim expressed their condolences to Talabani’s immediate family.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called Talabani’s wife and son in order to express his condolences.
Prime Minister Binali Yildirim also sent a message to Hero Talabani, lauding her late husband as an “eminent politician and statesman” who had accomplished great service to both Iraqi Kurds and all of Iraq.
“I would like to express our condolences to you, your family, all your relatives, and to our Iraqi brothers,” said the message according to sources from Yildirim’s office.