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Iraq meeting tackles Turkmens' future in post-Daesh era

Salihi urged the Kurdish Regional Government to give political and cultural rights to the Turkmens living in Erbil

Ekip   | 17.05.2017
Iraq meeting tackles Turkmens' future in post-Daesh era

Ankara

By Haydar Hadi

BAGHDAD

A meeting was held in Iraqi capital Baghdad on Tuesday to discuss the future of Iraq's Turkmen community in the post-Daesh era.

The meeting, themed "Future of Turkmens in United Iraq", was held under the auspices of parliament speaker Salim al-Jabouri and attended by Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi, Iraqi politicians, representatives of foreign missions in the country and citizens from various Turkmen regions.

"We want support for training and equipping the Turkmen Hashd al-Shaabi forces," Ershad Salihi, leader of the Iraqi Turkmen Front, told the meeting, referring to pro-government fighters fighting Daesh terrorist group.

"[We want] a quota for Turkmen students in military schools and police academy and forming a Turkmen force to protect their territories," he said, going on to call on the government to help displaced Iraqis to return to their homes.

Salihi called for dialogue between the central government and Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) and NGOs with a view to solving their disputes regarding the northern city of Kirkuk.

The oil-rich Kirkuk has been a point of discussion between Baghdad and KRG in terms of shares over the revenues gained via oil exports.

Kirkuk Provincial Council recently raised the KRG flag alongside the Iraqi flag at local institutions and insisted on the use of Kurdish alongside Arabic.

The decision had sparked widespread criticism in Turkey, with many officials and politicians warning the KRG to avoid any such unilateral moves on Kirkuk.

Salihi also urged the KRG to give political and cultural rights to the Turkmens living in Erbil.


-Turkmens Iraq's loyal children


Al-Jabouri, for his part, called for the participation of the Turkmens in the administration of Iraq.

"The Turkmens are one of the core bases of the [country's] ethnic diversity. They have always been the loyal children of Iraq. They have suffered greatly from the old regimes and current terrorist groups," he said.

He stressed that the Iraqi parliament "would never let Iraq fall apart".

"We refuse the idea of dividing Iraq into small states, as it violates our indivisible integrity," he said.

* Ali Murat Alhas contributed to this report from Ankara

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