ISTANBUL (AA) – Turkiye today expressed concern about the tensions in the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk, where four people died during the protests, reports Anadolu.
“We are saddened and concerned about the tensions that have resulted in the loss of lives in Kirkuk, which is the homeland of our Turkmen relatives,” Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan said at a joint press conference with his Iranian counterpart Hussein Amir-Abdullahian in the capital of Iran, Tehran.
Turkiye is demanding that Iraqi authorities end the growing presence of the PKK terrorist organization in Kirkuk, Fidan said.
“The peace and stability of Kirkuk affects the overall peace and stability of Iraq.” We see Kirkuk as a symbol of the culture of peaceful coexistence,” he added.
The Turkish minister said that Kirkuk, a city with a long history, had recently experienced great suffering and massacres.
“We believe it is essential to preserve the delicate social balance in this city and ensure equal representation and participation for all groups in governance.”
“We have long supported the formula for achieving equal representation and participation of all segments in the city,” Fidan added.
He further said that the protection of the rights and interests of the Turkmen groups is among the key elements of the Turkish policy towards Iraq.
“We will continue to oppose the politicization of Turkmen rights and support the Turkmen community in all areas.”
Supporters of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) protested yesterday in Kirkuk demanding the reopening of the highway connecting the city to Erbil.
The highway was closed by Iraqi Turkmen who object to the handover of the Joint Operations Command building to the KDP.
Protesters blocked several roads by burning tires, forcing local authorities to declare a curfew in the city.
According to the police, at least four people lost their lives in the protests.
Protests erupted in Kirkuk last week following the government’s decision to hand over the headquarters of the Kirkuk Operational Command to the KDP, which claims the building was previously used by the party and should be returned to the party.
The Peshmerga forces of the Kurdistan Regional Government were deployed to bases evacuated by the Iraqi army in Kirkuk after the emergence of the terrorist organization Daesh in 2014.
In 2017, Iraqi government forces entered Kirkuk, ending the Peshmerga’s presence in the city.
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