ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan24) - The hoisting of Kurdistan flag on top of official buildings in the contested city of Kirkuk was 'a trap' for the Kurdistan Region President Masoud Barzani, claimed Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on Thursday.
"Actually this is an initiative to disrupt Barzani administration's ties with everyone," said Cavusoglu to the privately-owned Turkish news channel NTV.
Cavusoglu went on blaming the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) which is the leading Kurdish party in Kirkuk and the main rival of President Barzani's Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) for the move that has irritated Turkey.
Kirkuk's Provincial Council adopted a resolution to raise the flag of Kurdistan last month, with votes from its Kurdish members who make up the majority.
Among those who approved a proposal by the Governor Najmaldin Karim of the PUK, were also KDP members.
Shortly after the decision, President said the decision to raise the Kurdish flag in Kirkuk was "normal and legal."
“Even after the fall of the former Iraqi regime in 2003, especially after the emergence of Da’esh, the Kurdistan Flag has been present in Kirkuk,” read a statement by the Kurdistan Region's Presidency.
“It was the same flag that protected Kirkuk from the threat and attacks of terrorists,” Barzani's office added.
Turkish Foreign Ministry protested Kurdish move in Kirkuk where a sizeable Turkmen minority live, calling it "unilateral."
President Erdogan this week threatened "a heavy price" if the Kurds did not step back during a rally to garner votes in a referendum that would decide whether to give him executive powers.
Editing by Ava Homa