Thursday, May 10, 2007


Turkey - Kirkuk is Iraq's internal affair but must speak up for minorities

(The New Anatolian) - Turkey believes Kirkuk is an internal affair of Iraq but also says it has to speak up for the rights of Turkmens, Kurds, Arabs and all other groups living in this oil rich city, according to sources close to the Foreign Ministry. The sources say they feel the current situation in Kirkuk will not allow the November referendum to take place as scheduled and say the whole process should be delayed.
A source close to the ministry said Turkey has the right to speak about the future of Kirkuk as any other country. "When western countries speak about the oil law in Iraq are they interfering in the internal affairs of Iraq? So others also speak about the future of Iraq and of Kirkuk. Turkey is not interested in interfering in the internal affairs of Iraq," the source said.
The sources say the Iraqi Arabs as much as the Turkmens are against the referendum taking place in November. They also say deadlines set in article 140 of the Iraqi constitution for the future of Iraq have already passed with no action. "So the delays are already there. Besides this there is no healthy atmosphere for holding the census in Kirkuk in July which will be a prelude for the referendum."
The sources said there is growing recognition among the international circles that the referendum has to be delayed. The sources said the Arabs also are not too much in favor of the referendum in 2007 and are stalling. "They take a decision on Article 140 but then they do not apply it. Thus there are delays." The Kurds insist the referendum will take place in 2007. They are known to be threatening the al-Maliki government of a walkout from the cabinet if the referendum is stalled.

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