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Kurdish Kirkuk factions to begin referendum talks with other groups

By Rudaw 25/5/2016
Kirkuk is an ethnically-mixed province.
Kirkuk is an ethnically-mixed province.
SULAIMANI, Kurdistan Region - The Kurdish provincial representatives in Kirkuk say they will start marathon negotiations with political groups and community leaders about the anticipated referendum on the future of the oil-rich city.
Muhammad Kamal, a Kurdish party official in the ethnically diverse province said they hoped Kirkuk would actively take part in the public vote and decide to integrate with the Kurdistan Region.  
The Kurdish authorities have announced that the referendum on independence for the Kurdistan Region will most likely be held in November or before the end of this year.
Kurdish President Masoud Barzani has said that the referendum will include almost all the so-called disputed territories, which include Khanaqin in the south, Shingal in the west and Kirkuk, along with many other areas.
But while the referendum in the Kurdistan Region will be about breaking away from Iraq, the vote in the disputed territories will also be about whether or not they want to stay with Kurdistan.
“We hope the people of Kirkuk decide to stay with the Kurdistan region and break away from Iraq and this is why we start negotiating with other groups,” Kamal told Rudaw.
Just slightly over 50 percent of the population in Kirkuk consists of Kurds, while Turkmen, Arabs and other groups make up the rest of the population, in a city which over the past century has been at the heart of virtually all negotiations between Baghdad and Erbil.
Faridun Abdulqadir, a top Kurdish negotiator who took part in several Kurdish-Iraqi meetings in 1983 with the then Iraqi ruler Saddam Hussein, says that the deadlock always emerged when talks centered on the future of Kirkuk.
“Saddam used to say that if Kurds had Kirkuk, they would break away from Iraq, which is why he never accepted Kurdish demands regarding the city,” Abdulqadir told Rudaw.
But with the political and financial crises deepening in the country, and while Kurds have virtually been administering Kirkuk since early 2014, it seems unlikely for Baghdad to effectively block a reintegration of Kirkuk with the Kurdistan Region.
Kirkuk governor Najmaldin Karim said recently that the province was “ready to decide whether it wants to be an autonomous region or be integrated with the Kurdistan Region.”
The powerful Turkmen groups in the city, however, say that they would not oppose a ‘yes’ vote if Kirkuk decided to integrate with Kurdistan, but they have concerns about what they see as the deepening political rifts in the region.
“If integrating with the Kurdistan Region serves the best interest of Kirkuk, then of course we will not oppose it,” said Tahsin Muhammad Ali, a member of the Iraqi Turkmen Front (ITF).
“But Kurdistan itself is in economic crisis and there are tensions among the political parties there, so perhaps we should look for a judicial solution for Kirkuk,” he added. 


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kurt basar | 25/5/2016
The Kirkuk as well as Mosul regions historically are land of the Kurd's (Kurdinash), but historically been occupied by the Sargon's Akkadians/ Assyrians as well as Babylonian. But Kurd's are the ones who named the region as well as rivers, such as, Pour-hat (Firat), zwi chemi (first recorded cultivated field in the world), Arank-za (tigris/dicle), mare, Rastan, Golan as well as where garden of the Eden is located, which Archaeologist's are desperately seeking to find out (location will be revealed once our Kurdistan became reality). Because Kurd's are historically Sumerians stock and their language (kurdmanji) is the Sumerians origin and because of these reasons Kirkuk is the Kurdistan & belong to the Kurd's not belong to the Bedouin savages.
K | 25/5/2016
The reintegration of Kirkuk into Kurdistan would be the best for the city and all the inhabitants irrespective of ethnicity, political or religious inclination. Kirkuk is historically part of Kurdistan and shall remain part of Kurdistan. A yes vote for independent Kurdistan with Kirkuk included is the wisest decision to be made; and let us do it all together. We will build our country as a model country for peace, democracy and prosperity.
Rawand Yousif | 25/5/2016
Why is it that these articles on Kerkuk always anonymous? who is the author? the other articles on Rudaw show the authors name but the ones regarding Kerkuk are always anonymous, who is this coward that doesn't sign their own articles?
Suzan Aga Kizi | 25/5/2016
Kerkuk never been part of Kurdistan or Majority of Kurds, read well the history of Kerkuk, all poets and districts, historic places are all in Turkmen name, even the citadel entrances names in Turkmen, so how did you came to conclusions Kerkuk are part of Kurdistan. Don't follow Israel in their steps when they occupied Phalastain, it doesn’t work...
paul lace | 25/5/2016
pretty sure these turkmen are bluffing you to get more concessions. before you agree to all their demands remember that there's no way any of these minorities would rather join the chaos of sunni or shia Iraq over kurdistan. If push comes to shove annex the Kurdish majority areas and those areas where the minorities overwhelmingly want to join up with Kurdistan, let the rest fight it out with Arabs and enjoy living under sharia law.

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