Kirkuk not Turkey’s business, says
Kurdistan Gov't official
Kurdistan region 'Iraq', — The Kurdistan Regional
Government’s (KRG) undersecretary to the Ministry of
Peshmarga Affairs said Kirkuk is an internal issue
and not Turkey’s business following the deployment
of forces in the disputed city in late February.
Jabbar Yawar’s statement comes after the Turkish
media reported that Turkey wanted the Kurdish
Peshmarga forces to withdraw from the oil-rich
province where “demonstrators” attacked government
buildings and set a police station on fire.
The government buildings and police stations in
Hawija and Riyadh towns in Kirkuk were set on fire
and three police officers were killed in armed
clashes on February 25.
Following the violence in the province, the KRG
deployed the Peshmarga forces to Kirkuk province to
“protect” the ethnic Kurds and other minorities from
On Sunday, a Turkish
foreign affairs delegation headed by Fereydun
Jabbar Yawar, The Kurdistan Regional Government’s
(KRG) undersecretary to the Ministry of Peshmarga
deputy foreign minister, visited
Kurdistan and met the regional President Massoud
Barzani. The Turkish Milliyet newspaper said the
subject of the meeting was Kirkuk and the deployment
of the Peshmarga forces there.
The deputy Turkish Foreign Minister highlighted the
concerns of Turkey’s and the Turkmen community of
Kirkuk and urged Barzani to pull back the forces
from the city, the newspaper quotes its sources.
But Mr Yawar says “This issue is no business of the
Turkish government. Legally speaking, how can the
Turkish government ask the KRG (such a thing)”
Kirkuk is an internal issue and the concern of the
KRG and the Iraqi government which can be discussed
in talks, he said, “there is an agreement between
the Iraqi government, the Kurdistan Region and the
US forces regarding the stationing of those forces
in the disputed areas”
Kirkuk is an ethnically diverse city where Kurds,
Arabs, Turkmen and Christians live. The history of
the tensions between the ethnic groups stems from
the former Iraqi government’s “Arabization” policies
to expel the Kurds and Turkmen of the province in
order to resettle Arab families there instead to
control the natural wealth of the province,www.ekurd.netin
particular its vast oil reserves.
But after the 2003 fall of Saddam Hussein, many of
those families have returned to Kirkuk to reclaim
their properties and resettle there.
A spokeswoman for the al-Iraqiya list led by former
interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi which represents
the Iraq’s Sunni majority including the Arabs and
Turkmen of Kirkuk described the deployment of those
forces to Kirkuk as “normal” but criticized their
mobilization without an order from the Iraqi Prime
Minister Nuri al-Maliki.
“…the mobilization of those forces without an order
from Maliki is illegal because he is the commander
in chief of the armed forces in Iraq,” Maysun al-Damluji
According to the Iraqi constitution, the Peshmarga
forces are part of the Iraqi defense system.
The Arabs and Turkmen of Kirkuk doubt the good
intentions of the Peshmarga forces to protect
civilians from insurgents. They believe those forces
are there for a political purpose.
A claim rejected by Yawar. “There is not political
goal behind the presence of the Peshmarga forces in
the disputed areas,” he said.
The Kurds now form the majority in the province
after they won more than half the votes of the
province in the May 7 general election in 2010 by a
Turkey hasn’t demanded
peshmarga withdrawal from Kirkuk, says spokesman
The spokesman for Kurdistan Ministry of Peshmarga
said Turkey has not requested Kurdistan Regional
government in Iraq to withdraw its forces from
Kirkuk province, stressing the question is an Iraqi
The Turkish Milliyet newspaper published that in
their meeting this week in Erbil, the Turkish
foreign top officials and Kurdistan Region President
Massoud Barzani discussed the presence of Peshmarga
(Kurdish armed forces) in the oil rich Kirkuk
province. The newspaper citing its sources said the
Turkish side demanded peshmarga withdrawal from the
After Feb.25, the nationwide Day of Anger thousands
stormed into the streets across Iraqi provinces, in
protest to the deficiencies and procrastination of
the government. In some areas as in Kirkuk province,
some districts fell into the hands of the protesters
who threatened “to liberate the whole province”.
This led Kurdistan which persistently claims the
tenure of the multiethnic province, expedite its
forces to the province “to protect the civilians.”
The move has been criticized by some Iraqi sides as
an “attempt to occupy the province.”
Jabbar Yawar, the spokesman for Peshmarga Ministry
told AKnews the issue of peshmarga deployment in
Kirkuk is not related to Turkey in legal terms.
“This is an Iraqi internal issue that is to be
settled by the Iraqi and the Kurdish governments,”
Yawar said, adding he has not been informed about
any such requests.
Kirkuk city is historically a Kurdish city and it
lies just south border of the Kurdistan autonomous region, the population is a
mix of majority Kurds and minority of Arabs,www.ekurd.net
Christians and Turkmen, lies 250 km northeast of
Baghdad. Kurds have a strong cultural and emotional
attachment to Kirkuk,www.ekurd.net
which they call "the Kurdish
Jerusalem." Kurds see it as the rightful and
perfect capital of an autonomous Kurdistan state.
Article 140 of the Iraqi constitution is related to
the normalization of the situation in Kirkuk city
and other disputed areas through having back its
Kurdish inhabitants and repatriating the Arabs
relocated in the city during the former regime’s
time to their original provinces in central and
The article also calls for conducting a census to be
followed by a referendum to let the inhabitants
decide whether they would like Kirkuk to be annexed
to the autonomous Iraqi Kurdistan region or having
it as an independent province.
The former regime of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein
had forced over 250,000 Kurdish residents to give up
their homes to Arabs in the 1970s, to "Arabize" the
city and the region's oil industry.
The last ethnic-breakdown census in Iraq was
conducted in 1957, well before Saddam began his
program to move Arabs to Kirkuk. That count showed
178,000 Kurds, 48,000 Turkomen, 43,000 Arabs and
10,000 Assyrian-Chaldean Christians living in the
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