Turkman leader says Kirkuk dispute cannot
be resolved without Turkman-Kurd agreement
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 region.
May 12, 2012
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. Photo: UKS
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KIRKUK, Iraq's border with Kurdistan region,
— The key players who can resolve the territorial
dispute over the oil rich Kirkuk province are
Turkmans and Kurds, a Turkman party leader said.
Kirkuk issue is not the problem between the Baghdad
and Kurdistan Region governments, rather it is a
dispute between Kurds and Turkmans, said Asam Adel,
the general secretary of National Turkman Party.
The tenure of Kirkuk which rests on 40% of Iraqi oil
reserves has been disputed between Baghdad and the
Kurdistan Region governments for a long time.
Kurds who claim a Kurdish identity for Kirkuk city (center
of the province) were irritated when Iraqi Prime
Minister Nouri al-Maliki said during his visit to
Kirkuk this week that Kirkuk is an Iraqi city.
There are also Turkmans in the province who claim
aboriginality. Most of them support the idea of
declaring Kirkuk an autonomous region within Iraqi
federal state. Arabs endeavor for keeping Kirkuk
within the borders of Baghdad administration by
giving the province more authorities. However, Kurds
refuse both options. They demand Kirkuk be annexed
Adel said if Kurds and Turkmans agreed over
strategic issues and were able to build mutual trust
"70% of the crisis[over Kirkuk] is over."
Kurds have laid all their hope in the enforcement of
the constitutional article 140 which specifies the
stages for indicating the owner of the province.
First the displaced people should be returned to
their homeland and compensated, then a population
census should be conducted to indicate the density
of each ethnic group, and finally a public
referendum will determine whether Kirkuk should be
run by Baghdad or Erbil.
The article had to be completely enforced by end of
2007. However, the first stage of it is still not
Adel said the issue of Kirkuk cannot be resolved by
Kurds and Arabs alone. "The closest solution is
bound to the agreement between Turkmans and Kurds."
National Turkish Party was founded by Iraqi Turkmans
in diaspora in 1988.
The dispute over Kirkuk, to the northeast of
Baghdad, as negatively affected on security
situation. The province is subject to frequent armed
attacks, robberies, abductions and bombings.
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
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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