PM Barzani congratulates Turkmen on their Language and Culture Day

On Dec. 25, 2019, the Kurdistan Region parliament voted to designate Nov. 17 as Turkmen Language and Culture Day.
Kurdistan Region Prime Minister Masrour Barzani. (Photo: KRG)
Kurdistan Region Prime Minister Masrour Barzani. (Photo: KRG)

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Kurdistan Region Prime Minister Masrour Barzani in a post on X on Friday congratulated Turkmen on the ethnic group’s Language and Culture Day.

“On this occasion, we reiterate the commitment of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) to protect the rights of all communities and promote a culture of peaceful coexistence among the communities of Kurdistan,” the Prime Minister said.

On Dec. 25, 2019, the Kurdistan Region parliament voted to designate Nov. 17 as Turkmen Language and Culture Day. 

As a show of support, the Kurdistan Region Parliament previously allotted five quota seats for Turkmen representation.

Turkmen in Iraq form the third largest ethnic group in the country. They are estimated to make up 8% of the population of the Kurdistan Region. They are predominantly Sunni Muslims. The Turkmen language, although similar to modern Turkish, uses a more archaic form of Turkic linguistics.

Although there are a few larger political groups, such as the Iraqi Turkmen Front (ITF), that claim to advocate for them, ethnic Turkmen are largely divided among multiple parties across the Kurdistan Region and Iraq.

The ethnic group draws ancestral ties to their kin in neighboring Türkiye, which has long sought to enhance the interests of Turkmen in Iraq.

Despite otherwise friendly ties between Erbil and Ankara, the issue of recognizing  Turkmen ancestral roots in Kirkuk remains a persistent dilemma.

Türkiye seems opposed to the Iraqi Constitution’s Article 140, which would reverse decades of Arabization policies under the former Ba’athist regime and, thus, empower Kurdish representation in the province.

As the Washington Institute’s Bekir Aydogan illustrated in September, “Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan’s recent statement supporting ‘equal representation and participation of all segments’ in Kirkuk’s administration reveals that Ankara envisions something other than Article 140 in mind for the city.”