Kurdish declared official language of Kirkuk

Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at ccat.sas.upenn.edu
Mon Feb 28 17:24:31 UTC 2005

>>From Turkish Daily News:

Kurdish declared official language of Kirkuk

25/02/2005   Turkish Daily News
ANKARA - (TDN) The Kurdish governor of Kirkuk has issued a circular
declaring Kurdish the official language in the disputed oil-rich city in
northern Iraq, said a news report yesterday.

Kirkuk Governor Abdurrahman Mustafas order came as Osman Korutrk, Turkeys
special envoy to Iraq, was visiting northern Iraq for talks with Jalal
Talabani, leader of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK).

The decision may lead to tension among the citys ethnically diverse
population. The circular makes Kurdish the official language not only in
Kirkuk city but also in all districts, some of which are populated
exclusively by non-Kurdish communities such as the Turkmen, reported the
private Mak Ajans.

Kurds claim ownership of Kirkuk, the control of which is disputed among
Kurds, Turkmens and Arabs, and a win in the Jan. 30 local elections in the
city added strength to their claim. Kurds won more than half of the vote
in the local polls and say this has proven the Kurdish identity of the
city. They also insist on the control of the strategic city in order to
agree to any deal on the formation of a new Iraqi government.

Turkey, on the other hand, is worried about the rights of Turkmens in the
city and says Kirkuk should not be ruled by any ethnic group. Ankara
complained of massive Kurdish migration to the city before the polls.

Abdurrahman became the citys governor after the U.S.-led war on Iraq, and
fresh elections for a new governor in the post-election era have not yet
been held.

Turkish Daily News


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