KIRKUK, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan24) – The Provincial Council expects to hold a session on Sunday to decide on raising Kurdistan national flag next to the Iraqi flag on all government buildings in Kirkuk.
The Governor of Kirkuk, Najmaddin Karim, has asked the head of the Kirkuk Provincial Council (KPC) to hold a special session on this issue, aiming to gain a majority vote among council members in order to enact the decision.
Governor Karim also highlighted the use of the Kurdish language on official government and institutional documents. He contends that documents should be in both Arabic and Kurdish, not only in Kirkuk, but in all provinces of Iraq, as underlined in the Iraqi constitution.
“Soon, we will hold a session to regain the constitutional rights [to use the Kurdish language in official documents] that they [the Federal Government] have retaken from us. We will discuss the issue soon in a session and we look forward to winning the majority of votes to gain our rights, which has not been implemented by the Federal Government,” said the head of the Kirkuk Provincial Council, Rebwar Talabani.
“The Federal Government of Iraq must respect its constitution and laws, and start to adopt them,” Karim told reporters in Kirkuk on Thursday. “We as the people of Kurdistan and as the Kurdish nation should insist on this. We can’t move with it just because it has become a routine,” he said, referring to laws and constitutional articles ignored by the Federal Government.
Kurdistan24 contacted non-Kurdish ethnic groups in Kirkuk to enquire about their views on raising Kurdistan flag. No response has been received yet.
Kirkuk is one of the most diverse provinces in Iraq’s Kurdistan Region, consisting of different ethnic and religious groups such as Kurds, Arabs, Turkmen, and Christians. Kurds make up the majority of the population.
The province is one of the disputed territories between the Federal Government of Iraq and the autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). It is rich in natural resources, especially oil and gas.
When the Islamic State (IS) emerged in northern Iraq, the Iraqi army failed to defend Kirkuk. Since June 2014, Kurdish Peshmerga forces have been protecting the province against numerous attacks by IS.
The Kurdistan Regional Government has long claimed the territory. Kirkuk has gone through several stages of Arabization in the past decades through forced displacement of Arab families to deprive the autonomous Region of the province.
Editing by Ava Homa