Kurdish parties under pressure by Iraqi military authorities in disputed areas: PUK

Iraqi military authorities have put unconstitutional pressures on Kurdish parties in disputed areas during the elections campaigns.

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) on Monday said Iraqi military officials in disputed areas had prevented Kurdish parties from reopening their offices, warning of “harmful consequences.”  

The PUK said in a statement that the situation in the Kurdistani areas outside of the Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) administration might spiral out of control if the issues remained unresolved.

“Six months after the Oct. 16 events, Kurdish political parties—that are legally recognized in Kirkuk, Khanaqin, Shingal, Jalawla, Saadiya, Qaratapa, and other areas—are denied from opening offices by military and security authorities,” the statement said.

It added that Iraqi military authorities had put unconstitutional pressures on Kurdish parties in the disputed areas during the elections campaigns, noting that the military had even seized the homes of Kurdish officials and figures.

“Imposing a military and security authority in such a way is against the constitution and the principles of our relations [with Baghdad],” the statement read.

Addressing the Iraqi President, Prime Minister, and Parliament Speaker, the PUK warned that the continued denial of Kurds’ political freedoms in the disputed areas has created “harmful doubts among the public opinion of those areas that might result in harmful consequences.”

The PUK called on the three senior Iraqi officials “to resolve legal issues and secure political rights immediately.”

Iraqi forces and Iran-backed Shia Hashd al-Shaabi militias attacked and took control of the ethnically-diverse province of Kirkuk on Oct. 16, an area which had been under the protection of the Peshmerga since mid-2014.

Since then, the idea of returning to pre-2003 borders has been brought up by officials in Baghdad but has been completely rejected by their KRG counterparts.

Editing by Karzan Sulaivany