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 Jalal Talabani's Party: Kirkuk is Kurdish, and not subject to bargaining

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Jalal Talabani's Party: Kirkuk is Kurdish, and not subject to bargaining  8.9.2011  

September 8, 2011

SULAIMANIYAH, Kurdistan region 'Iraq', — Iraqi President Jalal Talabani's political party, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan PUK, announced on Monday that the Province of Kirkuk is Kurdish and that there can be no bargaining over it.

The party claims that an agreement with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's State of Law regarding the future of the province was not fulfilled.

Under Article 140 of the Iraqi constitution, a referendum should have taken place no later than December 2007 to determine the future of the province. Political obstacles have so far prevented the referendum from taking place.

The oil-rich province of Kirkuk is one of the most disputed areas by the regional government and the Iraqi government in Baghdad.

The Kurds are seeking to integrate the province into the semi-autonomous Kurdistan Region clamming it to be historically a Kurdish city,
www.ekurd.netit lies just south border of the Kurdistan region, the population is a mix of majority Kurds and minority of Arabs, 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 southern Iraq.

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 city. 

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