Qubad Talabani says Kirkuk is essential part of Kurdistan

SULAIMANI (ESTA) — The head of President Mam Jalal’s secretariat office, Qubad Talabani, said Kirkuk is an essential part of the homeland, adding we will never ever surrender it.

Talabani said in a statement on Thursday that he had visited the city of Kirkuk, meeting with families of several Kurdish martyrs who had offered their blood to mark the Kurdistan border.

“Kirkuk is an essential part of the homeland’s body and we will never ever surrender it,” he said.

Kirkuk lies in an oil-rich and ethnically mixed part of the country. Control over the city has been contested by Kurdish and Iraqi authorities.

Kurdish forces used to control the city when the Iraqi army fled during the Islamic State offensive back in 2014. However, the Iraqi forces retook the city in the wake of the Kurdish referendum for independence in 2017.

The city is part of disputed territories between the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and the Iraqi government.

Article 140 of the Iraqi constitution was specially written to address the issue of the disputed territories between the KRG and the Iraqi government after the fall of the former Iraqi regime of Baath.

Article 140 was supposed to have resolved the issue of the disputed areas by 2007, but successive governments have failed to implement the steps outlined in the provision.

Since the federal government retook control of Kirkuk and other disputed areas from Kurdish forces in October 2017 have been subjected to the Arabization process.

According to the Article, normalization in disputed territories, including Kirkuk, must go through three phases: Members of the diaspora must be allowed to return and people not native to the area relocated and compensated if necessary to accommodate the returnees.

In the meantime, after conducting a census, a referendum is to be held on whether to integrate Kirkuk into the Kurdistan Region or maintain its current territorial status as an Iraqi province.

The Article also states that normalization in disputed territories should be accomplished by the end of 2007.



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