niqash | Muhammed Abdullah | Kirkuk | 02.12.2007The Kurdistan Regional Government considered giving the Turkish army the green light to pursue members of PKK onto Iraqi soil as it threatens the security and stability of the Region. It condemned accusations of Arabs and Turkmen of transforming Kirkuk, the city of historical conflict, into a Kurdish city. Niqash met Kurdistan Alliance MP Abdul Khaleq Zankana, responsible for the Arab-Kurdish Relations Office, and interviewed him on the new developments related to the latest Turkish-Kurdish crisis and the prospects of settling the Kirkuk issue.
There is a green light given to the Turkish army to invade Kurdistan in pursue of PKK. A Kurdish delegation has visited Turkey to settle the border crisis but it seems that no results have been achieved. Doesn't the Kurdistan Regional Government understand that the existence of the PKK inside its borders means a continuous threat to the Kurdistan Region?
The Turkish threat is not a new one for us; it is not a threat that has been born today or yesterday. It has been a threat even before the authorization given to the Turkish army to invade the Iraqi soil. This threat violates the international law, the sovereignty of a UN member state, a member of the League of Arab States and also the Organization of the Islamic Conference. The current massing of troops and the deployment of advanced weaponry across the Iraqi borders is a continuous source of tension and a permanent danger.
According to our sources, Turkish tank and artillery shelling and nonstop air raids targeting PKK hideouts and positions at the border between Iraq and Turkey in harsh and rugged areas have been continuing for years and we consider this to be an internal Turkish affair. If the Turkish government decides to invade via the Kurdish-Turkish border at Zakho and Dohuk, we will consider such a decision a military action against us.
We stress our stance opposing any military solution to the PKK problem. There should be a peaceful mechanism to settle the crisis of 25 million Kurdish people living inside Turkey. 23 years of continuous battles between the Turkish army and PKK armed militias, the tens of thousands of victims among civilian Kurds, Turkish army soldiers and PKK fighters did not bring any tangible results. Additionally, no results have been achieved even when Kurdish forces and political parties cooperated with the Turkish army to strike and pursue PKK militias in Kurdistan. We support a peaceful solution of the crisis of Kurdish people in Turkey and we stress that such is an internal Turkish affair.
As Kurds, we see that the existence of PKK militias on the Iraqi borders not as a problem for the Turks but also as a problem for us as a Kurdish government and also a problem for neighboring countries as well. But the issue is more linked to the Turkish warlord appetite to interfere military in Iraqi affairs from time to time under any justification or pretext. There are other examples of Turkish interference in Iraqi affairs, such as their opposition to the creation of a federal region for the Kurds in Iraq and their opposition to the implementation of Article 140 related to the normalization of conditions in Kirkuk. These are Iraqi and constitutional affairs and only Iraqis have the right to handle them and reach solutions regarding them. We ask our Turkish neighbors to rid themselves of the Kurdish and federalism complex because these are natural rights of the people of Kurdistan and natural rights of all people.
Turkey openly declared its refusal of Kurdish control over Kirkuk oil fields. There are serious conflicts over the city's ethnic identity inside the parliament regarding Article 140 on the normalization of conditions in the city …
The Turkish complex over Kirkuk, Kirkuk's oil and Mosul dates back to the aftermath of World War One. Turkish interest in Kirkuk's oil is based on the very well known 1926 tripartite agreement with Britain. The agreement gave Turkey the right to 10% of Iraqi oil. We stress that the Turkish dream to get hold of Kirkuk and Diyala has ended and Turks know well that history will not repeat itself. We hear from time to time that a crisis is created by Turkey regarding Article 140, which is actually an extension of Article 58 of Iraq's Transitional Administrative Law. Turkey raises the issue despite the fact that Article 140 has been agreed upon and endorsed in a popular referendum to be implemented during a given period of time specified by end of 2007 and despite the fact that a committee has been formed by Dr. al-Ja'fari's government and the Iraqi parliament to supervise the implementation of this article and an amount has been allocated from the state budget for that reason. Additionally, the article has been approved in the parliament even before the formation of Mr. Maliki's government.
It seems that there is a tendency to postpone the implementation of this article. There is also a proposal to give Kirkuk the status of a special region.
As stressed in Paragraph 26 of the program of the current government containing 33 issues, the government is constitutionally obliged to finalize all issues related to Article 140. If there are some voices or some views calling for postponing the implementation of this article that does not mean that it will be postponed. These calls are coming from some of the newcomer Arabs in Kirkuk and those who live outside the city with insincere and deceitful motives. We believe that unless a solution is found to the hundreds of thousands of forcibly displaced Kurds there will be no solution to the Kirkuk issue. Regarding your question on giving Kirkuk the status of a special region I say: Don't deprive the sons of Kirkuk off the right for a referendum. We are no against any stances stemming from real national interest supporting the annexation of Kirkuk into the Kurdistan Region or stances calling to give the city a special region status. However, in the end the decision should be that of the citizens of Kirkuk after the implementation of Article 140 according to the 1957 census. As to claims that Kurds are seeking to control oil fields of Kirkuk, we say that these claims are not valid at all and not legitimate. There is oil in Basra and in 'Amara and there is oil in other Iraqi cities. This oil belongs to the Iraqi people and should be equally divided and shared by Iraqis in their cities according to the number of population and the deprivation suffered by oil producing governorates.