Kirkuk (IraqiNews.com) Kurds in Kirkuk have raised flags of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in response to members of the Turkmen community who had raised Turkish flags during an event, a Kurdish member of the Iraqi parliament has said.
Shwan Dawdy, an MP from Kirkuk, said it was a predictable reaction from angry Kurdish youths to raise PKK flags in a mostly-Kurdish square in northern Kirkuk after members from the Turkmen community raised a Turkish flag days earlier to mark the anniversary of the establishment of the Turkmen Front.
Both incidents were not supported by official bodies of the governorate, Dawdy was quoted saying by Alghad Press.
Commenting on the incidents, the Turkmen Front said in a statement on Sunday that those who had raised the PKK flags were “outlaws”, stressing what it described as its commitment to “societal peace”.
The independent Iraq Press Agency said PKK flags were raised in the Raheem Awa square along with another bearing the face of Abdullah Ocalan, the PKK’s leader detained in Turkey since 1999.
The PKK, which has led a decades-old insurgency against Turkey, is branded a terrorist entity by Ankara. Kurdistan Region Government also views the party as a security threat and has urged it to withdraw from Iraqi territory.
The incidents come a few weeks after a controversy flared in March when Kirkuk’s local government decided to raise KRG flags along with Iraqi flags above government buildings, a move disapproved by the government in Baghdad and by Ankara as a breach of Iraq’s unity.
Kirkuk is one area where Kurdistan region disputes sovereignty with Iraq. Its population comprises Arab, Kurdish and Turkmen ethnicities.
Kurdistan gained autonomous governance based on the 2005 constitution, but is still considered a part of Iraq. The region was created in 1970 based on an agreement with the Iraqi government, ending years of fierce fighting.