Iraq's Turkmen Front Concerned Kirkuk May Become Battlefield

Marwan al-Aani interviews Arshad Salhi, head of the Turkmen Front, who demanded that the UN safeguard Kirkuk against potential bloodshed between the central government and the Kurdistan Regional Government. Kirkuk is still awaiting a referendum to decide if it will join the KRG.

al-monitor An Iraqi security forces member inspects the site of a bomb attack in Kirkuk, 250km (150 miles) north of Baghdad, January 26, 2012 Photo by REUTERS/Stringer.


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يون 5, 2012

Arshad Salhi, head of the Turkmen Front in Iraq (established in 1995 as a movement which seeks to represent the Turkmen people in Iraq), demanded that the United Nations deploy neutral forces to Kirkuk and other disputed territories for the safety of the area’s residents. He warned of a potential bloody conflict between the Iraqi government and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), and that Kirkuk may end up as the battlefield.

In a statement to Al-Zaman, Salhi said, "The political crisis is still ongoing. The withdrawal of confidence [from Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki] cannot be done based on the MP's signatures. This matter must be solved in parliament where the MPs will vote by raising their hands. We, as a front for Turkmen, believe in the higher interest of our nation. Therefore, the issue of Kirkuk and other disputed territories cannot be resolved by agreements signed between the central government and the province. Withdrawing the confidence from the current government is not the answer as well ... The solution lies in the agreement between all the concerned parties in these regions."

He added, "Whoever is willing to play Kirkuk's card in the negotiations will certainly fail. Article 140 [of the Constitution, which states that before a referendum to consider Kirkuk part of Iraqi Kurdistan takes place, measures must be taken to reverse Sadam Hussein’s Arabization policy in the region] is not the answer. Ammending the Constitution is the only way to find compromise solutions in the issue of Kirkuk and the disputed territories."

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