Kurdish street name changed to Turkmen in Kirkuk

On Thursday, Turkmen gathered in the street of Shahid (Martyr) Sherko Shwani in Kirkuk and changed the name to a Turkmen martyr Sehit Dr. Yildrim Demirci.

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – On Thursday, Turkmen gathered in the street of Shahid (Martyr) Sherko Shwani in Kirkuk and changed the name to a Turkmen martyr's name, Sehit Dr. Yildrim Demirci.

The people who gathered in the area were the supporters of Iraqi Turkmen Front party and Turkmen members of the Iranian-backed Shia Hashd al-Shaabi militia also known as Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), locals told Kurdistan 24.

The street is located in the center of the diverse city where Kurds are a majority and have historical claims to the land.

Iraqi Turkmen Front was the leading opposition party who lobbied in Baghdad against the inclusion of Kirkuk Province in Sep. 25 referendum for independence in the Kurdistan Region. They also complained in Baghdad court against raising Kurdistan national flag on all the public offices in Kirkuk.

Following the fall of Kirkuk on October 16 which was attacked by the Iraqi forces and the PMF, Kurdistan flag was brought down by the militia, Iraqi forces, and supporters of the Turkmen Front party.

The Turkmen People’s Party spokesman on October 17 also slammed the Iraqi Turkmen Front and PMF militia for looting their party offices and members’ houses in Kirkuk.

Kirkuk is an oil-rich province located in the south of the Kurdistan Region and north of Iraq. It is a diverse province with different ethnic and religious background, including Kurds, Turkmen, Arabs, and Christians. 

Following the fall of Kirkuk, Kurdistan national flag, posters of Peshmerga fighters fallen in defending Kirkuk along with other signs that link the area to the Kurdistan Region were destroyed, and Iraqi Turkmen Front party and Iraqi flags were instead raised.

In a recent visit to Turkey, the party leaders met with the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and called for more support in their alleged effort to recognize the city as a Turkmen region.

Due to the October attack on Kirkuk, over 100,000 people have been displaced to Erbil and Sulaimani, among them are Kurds, Turkmen, Christians, and Arabs.


Editing by Sam A.