ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – The Kurdistan national flag cover of the Kurdish former Iraqi President’s casket in Sulaimani led to a controversial reactions during the funeral ceremony on Friday.
During the ceremony, many local and foreign television channels were broadcasting it live.
The casket of Talabani’s body was covered by the national flag of Kurdistan to honor his significant role as an influential leader for the national cause throughout his lifetime.
Al-Itijah TV, an Iraqi local television close to Iran, stopped the live coverage and apologized to the viewers for stopping the feed, stating the reason for the coverage stop is due to the casket not being covered with an Iraqi flag.
Haider Mawla, a lawmaker in the State of Law Coalition faction with some other lawmakers, left the funeral.
“We were surprised to see Talabani’s casket covered with Kurdish flag instead of Iraqi,” he said.
He mentioned that he left the funeral after attending the ceremony for half an hour, returning with nine more lawmakers to Baghdad.
Jassim Mohammed Jaafar, another lawmaker from the same faction, criticized Talabani’s family for failing to consider Talabani as an Iraqi national.
Talabani was born on November 12, 1933, in a village near Erbil. He has been one of the influential Kurdish leaders who struggled for Kurdish rights and promoting the national cause in the past century while fighting different Iraqi regimes.
Talabani died at the age of 83 on October 3 in one of the hospitals in Germany’s Berlin following his stroke in late 2012.
On Friday, his body was returned to the Kurdistan Region to be buried in the province of Sulaimani in a special ceremony.
The ceremony was attended by many Kurdish, Iraqi, and foreign diplomats.
Following the fall of dictatorship system in Iraq in 2003, he became the sixth President of Iraq from 2005 until late 2012.
During his Presidency in Iraq, he was known for balancing the power in Baghdad and resolving issues between the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and the federal government of Iraq.
After his departure from politics, the relations between Erbil and Baghdad started to deteriorate.
Editing by Ava Homa