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Rudaw

Kurdistan

Governor denies reports he called to expel Turkmens and Arabs from Kirkuk

By Rudaw 3/9/2017
Kirkuk Governor Najmaldin Karim [L] and Rebwar Talabani [M] take part in a session of the Kirkuk Provincial Council that voted to join the Independence referendum  vote on August 29, 2017. Photo: Rudaw/Sartip Othman
Kirkuk Governor Najmaldin Karim [L] and Rebwar Talabani [M] take part in a session of the Kirkuk Provincial Council that voted to join the Independence referendum vote on August 29, 2017. Photo: Rudaw/Sartip Othman
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region - The office of the Kirkuk Governor Najmaldin Karim has denied a news story from Turkmen television that he suggested expelling the Turkmens and Arabs from the province after the referendum. 
 
The denial came after the Turkmeneli TV channel published a video report about a session of the Kirkuk Provincial Council held on Tuesday. The majority of the members voted to join the Kurdistan independence referendum, but it was opposed by some Turkmen and Arab parties.
 
The video report shows Karim as he is speaking to the acting head of the Kirkuk Council Rebwar Talabani, both of whom are Kurds.
 
Karim is recorded telling Talabani that “We will expel them later on, right?”
 
Talabani responds with laughter.
 
The Turkmen TV channel claimed that the two Kurdish officials were discussing expelling the Turkmens and Arabs from Kirkuk.
 
A statement from Karim’s office published by the local media denied he discussed the fate of the two components in the session.
 
It said that some members of the Council had told him that they wanted to take part in the session regarding the referendum but they refused to do so for fear of negative media coverage.
 
“Therefore the Kirkuk governor said that 'We will remove media people during the session and we will later brief them about the details in a press conference,’ ” the statement released to the media on Saturday read.

The session was public, and was broadcasted live on TV and social media. A Rudaw reporter and Talabani confirmed to Rudaw that no media outlet was removed from the session.
 
Asked about the content of the exchange that took place between him and Karim, Talabani told Rudaw English on Sunday that he does not recall specifically what they “joked” about in that particular case.
 
However, Talabani categorically denied that they discussed expelling other components from the province, adding that their Kurdish-led Brotherhood faction in the Council also includes Arabs and Turkmens.
 
Karim’s office was not immediately available to comment.
 
Karim told Rudaw last month that Kirkuk should have  special status when it joins the Kurdistan Region, or a future independent Kurdistan, calling on the Kurdistan Region to reassure them that other components are dealt with as “partners,” and that their national and cultural rights such as education are protected.
 
He called for a transitional period, at least for the first 10 years, when these components can be given deputy positions within Kurdistan’s presidency, parliament and the government.
 
The Kirkuk Provincial Council voted on Tuesday in favor of holding the Kurdistan Region’s referendum on independence in the Kirkuk province. Some Arab and Turkmen parties, including the Iraqi Turkmen Front, the largest Turkmen party in Iraq, opposed the vote.
 
In addition to the Kurdish representatives in the Brotherhood faction, two Turkmen, three Arabs and one Christian member voted in favor of the motion.

Comments

 
duroi | 3/9/2017
The Turkmen really think the 1400 years Sunni vs Shiite conflict in Iraq is over and a far more dangerous monster than ISS will not rise up again to avenge by bombing, killing and raping Iraqis again? The mere survival of Turkmen and other minorities in the region depends on them staying within secure borders of Kurdistan and out of the madness of Iraq. The Turkman brother-in-law of Kurdish Saladin, married to Saladin sister, and local ruler under Ayubid dynasty points to that common bond in history.
Dana | 4/9/2017
Shame on you as a publication for spreading cheap turkish propaganda. Turkey is trying to set KDP up against PUK again and ignite a civil war by pitching Najmadin Karim against Barzani, they're whispering in Barazani's ear that Najmadin Karim wants his seat, as if we had a monarchy and changing leadership from time to time was a crime.

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