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Political tension on rise in Kirkuk 1 février 2007

Posted by Acturca in Middle East / Moyen Orient, Turkey / Turquie.

Gulfnews, 25/01/2007

By Basil Adas, Correspondent

Baghdad: Kirkuk, the oil-rich province of northern Iraq is back in the forefront of political events in light of two developments: Turkish intervention to benefit the Iraqi Turkmen minority, and secondly the Kurdish leader Masoud Barazani’s statements which asserted that Kirkuk is Kurdish land.

His statement infuriated the Turks and Sunni and Shiite Arabs. Khisro Mohammad, a member of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan’s political bureau (led by President Jalal Talabani), told Gulf News: « The escalation in Kirkuk is basically Turkish escalation. »

He accused the Turks of taking advantage of the Turkmen minority to drag the Kurds into a conflict with Arabs and Turkmen.

« Turks fear an increase in light of normalising of the situation in Kirkuk under Article 140 of the permanent Iraqi constitution, meaning that the process of a self-determination referendum is approaching by the end of the current year.

« Turks fear Kirkuk joining the Kurdistan region because it will encourage 15 million Kurds in Turkey towards asserting their rights. Besides the Turkish Prime Minister sought to escalate the Kirkuk issue as the date for the next election campaign in Turkey is approaching, » he added.

Mohammad said he thought those causing the Kirkuk problem, in addition to Turks, were the dissolved Baath Party members and Arabs associated with the Ansar Al Sunna organisation close to Al Qaida.


During the visit of Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari to Ankara it was reported the Turkish government refused to provide guarantees to Baghdad not to raise the issue of Turkmen in Kirkuk.

The Turkmen Front loyal to Turkey accused Kurds of murdering the Turkmen minority and sending more Kurdish peshmerga troops to Kirkuk. Major General Anwar Mohammad Ameen, commander of the Iraqi Army in the province , told Gulf News: « There is a critical political conflict between Kurds-Turkmen and Arabs which may lead to an escalation of the security situation. »

Ameen revealed that Kirkuk had received hundreds of Arab and Kurdish families from hot spots in Baghdad and Ramadi. He confirmed that assassinations in Kirkuk were based on people’s national identity but said the situation was under control.

Under Article 140 of the Constitution, Kurds want to resettle 400,000 Kurds who left Kirkuk as part of the Arabisation Kurdistan’s region policy during the rule of former Iraqi President Saddam Hussain.

« Since the Arabisation policy led to resettling thousands of Shiites in the oil-rich governorate, Kirkuk will remain part of the united Iraq and we are reluctant to back Barazani’s statements which considers Kirkuk a Kurdish region, » said Talal Al Saadi, a prominent figure in the Shiite Sadr trend who enjoys great popularity in Kirkuk.

Al Saadi accused Kurdish political leaders of dragging the province into a bloody conflict through repeating statements about Kurdish Kirkuk.


1. Yusuf Mohammed - 8 février 2010

I think it is sad that the Turkmens of Kirkuk, do not get as much attention as the Kurds, It would be good if all factions could work together in building a truly independent Iraq, and more importantly a united Iraq, historically The cradle of civilisation. The removal of Saddam should be celebrated by ALL Iraqi’s, and not used to split the country, and cause problems between ethnic groups, easier said than done I know.
The Netherlands

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