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 Talabani's PUK expels member for critizing Kurdish officials who welcomed Maliki in Kirkuk

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Talabani's PUK expels member for critizing Kurdish officials who welcomed Maliki in Kirkuk  10.5.2012  








Aref Qurbani, a member of the Central Media Bureau of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK). Photo: UKS
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May 10, 2012

SULAIMANIYAH, Kurdistan region 'Iraq', — A member of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan PUK has been expelled, supposedly for his recent article against Kurdish officials in Kirkuk.

Aref Qurbani, a member of the Central Media Bureau of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), led by Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, was called by the politburo Wednesday and expelled, said a source who wished to remain anonymous.

Qurbani had written an article, which was published by AK news, about the recent visit of the Iraqi Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki, to Kirkuk.

The piece, 'Anyone who decorated the meeting place for Maliki in Kirkuk intended to smash Kurdish dignity', criticized Kurdish officials of Kirkuk for warmly welcoming the prime minister.

Qurbani also ran the Khandan Foundation and is close to Barham Salih the deputy for PUK secretary general.

The spokesman for the PUK could not be reached.

Maliki's meeting in the disputed Kirkuk province was received with deep distrust and sharp criticism by Kurds.

Maliki insisted Tuesday that Kirkuk had an Iraqi identity during a cabinet meet boycotted by Kurdish ministers whose autonomous region lays claim to the disputed city.

Maliki's remarks pointed to his opposition to allowing Kirkuk to be incorporated into Kurdistan's three-province northern region as Kurdish officials have called for and Baghdad has opposed.

No Kurdish cabinet ministers attended the meeting, apparently having been asked to stay away by the Kurdish regional government, according to two officials, one from the central government and the other Kurdish, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the subject.

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, it lies just south border of the Kurdistan autonomous region,
www.ekurd.net 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, 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. 

AK news part of the report by
Sarbaz Saleh

Copyright ©, respective author or news agency, aknews.com | ekurd.net | Agencies  

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