Struggle for Kerkuk’s Economic Resources: Iraq’s Official

Politics Materials 14 August 2008 17:50 (UTC +04:00)

Azerbaijan, Baku, 14 August / Trend corr. S.Ilhamgizi / According to Khalil Azzavi, advisor of Iraqi Vice President Tarig Al-Hashemi, the accusations against Turkey by the head of Iraqi Kurdish Administration Masud Barzani are ungrounded.

"Iraq is an independent state, and holds an independent policy," Azzavi told Trend .

The head of Iraqi Kurdish Administration Masud Barzani has accused Turkey of putting pressure on the Iraqi Parliament with regard to define the status of Kirkuk city in Iraq. This information was released by Turkish 'Dunya bulteni' agency.

Azzavi stated that he did not find grounds to accuse Turkey. The reason for differences occurred amongst Kurds, Arabs and Turkmen regarding Kirkuk is a struggle for economic resources, rather than a political issue.

"I believe that Iraq's balanced policy will succeed to regulate the Kirkuk problem, the Vice President advisor said from Bagdad.

According to Ahmad Tagi, Director of the Kirkuk based Strategic Research Centre; solution of Kirkuk's status in favor of Kurds may lay a found to establish a Kurdistan state in the region. "Kirkuk should be granted with neutral status, and the destiny of the province should be solved in favor of Arabs and Turkmen, but not Kurds," Tagi told Trend .

Kurds have pretensions to Kirkuk, as the province is rich with oil resources. The political scientist believes that Kurds' claims cause danger and for other countries in the region. "As for me, neither Turkey nor Iraq will allow establishment of Kurdistan state. Barzani's accusations against Turkey of interfering into Bagdad's internal affairs, ungrounded," Tagi said.

Bezen Balamir Coshgun, a physician on political sciences in the Britain based Lafboro University and expert on Turkey, believes that the official Ankara warns the Iraqi authorities due to Turkey's alarm regarding the possible prevail of Kurds in Kirkuk. Barzani, in his turn, evaluates this as interference into definition of Kirkuk's status.

Coshgun said that a referendum must be held under the Iraqi Constitution in order to define Kirkuk's status. Ankara is concerned with the latest demographic changes in Kirkuk. These ethnic changes will result in remove of Iraqi Kurds to the province to manipulate referendum. "Referendum will decide whether Kirkuk to join Kurdish Administration or it remain under Iraq's governing. Therefore, Turkey considers the issue quite relevant," the political scientist said via a telephone from London.

Furthermore, Turkey is concerned with the fact that Kirkuk is rich with oil reserves. "Acquisition of oil reserves in Kirkuk by Kurds may have negative consequences for Turkey. As a result Kurds will get political levers and Turkey will fail in its fight against Kurdistan Workers Party in the north of Iraq," Coshgun said.

According to Coshgun, Turkish nationalists are concerned most with the fact that Kurds take a control over Kirkuk,  and remind Turks the unfair and disadvantageous Mosul deal in 1920. Other nationalists believe that Turkey may become owner of oil reserves in Kirkuk.

"However, Turkey attempts to take true position regarding Kirkuk. The fallacious understanding of Turkey's true policy may affect the relations between Kurdish organization of Iraq and Turkey. The chances of the official Ankara regarding Kirkuk have been opened and it needs to conclude the largest trade deals," Coshgun stated.

Finally, Turkey must incline Iraq and the United States through diplomatic ways to prevent possible control over Kirkuk by Kurds.

Iraqi Kirkuk city, where Turks, Arabs, Kurds and Assyrians live, was given under Iraq's control under the agreement between Britain and Turkey in 1926. In 1976, structural changes took place in Iraq, as well as new provinces were founded. Kirkuk's status has not been yet defined.

"In any case, Turkey supports warm relations with the United States and Iraq, as well as Iraqi Kurdish Administration. All the accusations, secret deals and plots should be prevented in order to regulate Kirkuk's status through diplomatic ways," the expert on Turkey said.

U.Sadigova and R.Hafizoglu contributed in the article.

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