ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – An Iraqi Turkmen leader on Saturday complained about Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi failing to assign a ministerial post to the Turkmen minority, stating Baghdad wants the ethnic group’s representation to be merely symbolic.
“Turkmen people have no representatives in the government. They [Baghdad] want Turkmen representation to be symbolic,” Arshad Salihi, the leader of Iraqi Turkmen Front party and a newly elected lawmaker in the Iraqi Parliament, told Kurdistan 24.
“Despite our differences and disputes with the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) and the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), they accept and welcome our representative. Kurds accept our representatives, but unfortunately, Shia and Sunni authorities in Baghdad want to control the posts based on their national ideologies. This is a mistake authorities in Baghdad are making.”
The Turkmen Front, with its stronghold in Kirkuk, won three seats in the Iraqi Parliamentary election, which was held on May 12 this year.
The party, along with Arab parties in Kirkuk, was a key supporter of Baghdad restoring control over Kirkuk and other disputed areas on Oct. 16 last year.
Over the past years, the party has had strong disagreements with Kurdish authorities in Kirkuk, namely the PUK and the KDP, over posts in the local administration.
The Turkmen leader did concede there is a lot of pressure on the Prime Minister of Iraq.
“The absence of a strong opposition in the Iraqi parliament will make the government’s work less efficient,” he argued.
The Turkmen party in a recent statement expressed its surprise and disappointment with Iraqi political parties for failing to assign “any key ministerial post” to the ethnic minority group as part of a “national and electoral entitlement.”
“The weakening of the Turkmen component and the position of the Turkmen front will have serious consequences for the national cohesion and the rights of Turkmen,” the statement affirmed.
Editing by Nadia Riva