Turkey criticizes move to raise Kurdish flag in Iraq

FM Mevlut Cavusoglu calls on everyone in Iraq's Kirkuk city to 'act responsibly'

29.03.2017 - Update : 30.03.2017
Turkey criticizes move to raise Kurdish flag in Iraq

By Sultan Cogalan


Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has criticized the decision of an Iraqi provincial assembly to raise a Kurdish flag alongside the Iraqi national flag at public buildings.

On Tuesday, 26 Kurdish members of Kirkuk’s provincial assembly voted in favor of raising the Kurdish flag alongside Iraq’s national flag outside the city’s public buildings and institutions.

Arab and Turkmen members of the provincial assembly were conspicuously absent from the meeting.

In an interview with state-broadcaster TRT Haber in Ankara Wednesday, Cavusoglu said: “We don’t approve of this voting held by the regional administration.

“Such a step will not help Iraq’s future, stability and security at a time when Iraq is fighting against Daesh.

“We don’t support this step and we want everyone to act responsibly."

Iraqi Vice-President Osama al-Nujeifi also condemned the move on Tuesday, saying it could lead to friction between Kirkuk residents.

"Such an act is incongruous with national unity in Kirkuk and conflicts with the spirit of understanding and solidarity among city residents," al-Nujeifi said in a written statement.

During the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, Kurdish Peshmerga forces had seized Kirkuk, prompting an influx of Kurds into the city.

Baghdad says Kirkuk is administratively dependent on Iraq’s central government, while the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan party demands Kirkuk’s incorporation into the Kurdish Region.

The city’s Turkmen residents, however, oppose this idea, saying Kirkuk should enjoy a “special status”.

Kirkuk’s population is mainly composed of Arab, Turkmen and Kurdish inhabitants.

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