Turkmen protest raising Kurdish flag in Kirkuk

Tens of Turkmens protest in Kirkuk against decision on raising Kurdish flag, alongside Iraqi flag above official facilities in the city.

Kirkuk ( Tens of Turkmen protested on Wednesday at Kirkuk province against raising of the Kurdish flag above official facilities in the province, deeming the measure as “illegal” and unilateral.

According to Alsumaria News, the demonstrators protested near the province’s administrative building raising Iraqi and Turkmen flags. They also raised banners reading “No for unconstitutional decisions” and “Turkmens reject the governor’s decision on raising the Kurdish flag on facilities”

Protesters also said they would submit an official memorandum to the administration of the province against the decision.

On Tuesday, Kirkuk provincial council voted yes on the decision by governor Najmaddin Karim to install the Kurdistan flag alongside the Iraqi flag on the government buildings in the city, a decision that was condemned by Iraqi Vice President Osama al-Nujaifi, who described it as ‘breach of national unity’

Twenty-six out of 40 members of Kirkuk’s council voted for the controversial measure, in the absence of Arab and Turkmen representatives.

Two weeks ago, the governor issued directives to raise the Kurdish flag beside the Iraqi flag at all government facilities and on national occasions.

Kirkuk is one area where Kurdistan region disputes sovereignty with Iraq.

In 2005, Kurdistan gained autonomous governance, 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.

Both governments in Iraq and Erbil engaged in political spats over regions recaptured by Kurdish Peshmerga (army) troops from the Islamic State militants since campaigns against the group launched in October. While Kurdish politicians and MPs occasionally reiterated they were not going to cede those areas, Baghdad said it was expecting Kurdish troops to pull out after IS is eliminated.

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