mercredi 27 février 2008

Kurds take time considering Turkmen demands

Kirkuk - Voices of Iraq
Wednesday , 27 /02 /2008

Kirkuk, Feb 26, (VOI) – The Kurdish group in the Kirkuk provincial council asked for more time to respond to demands forwarded by the Turcomans as a prerequisite to end its boycot, including higher positions and the official use of the Turcoman language, a Turcoman member of the council said.

"Members of the Kirkuk Taakhi (Brotherhood) List asked for more timed to discuss the Turcoman demands," Ali Mahdi told Aswat al-Iraq – Voices of Iraq – (VOI), noting a second round of negotiations would be held between the two sides on Sunday in order to reach a final settlement of these demands.

The Turcomans suspended their membership in the Kirkuk provincial council, demanding the distribution of top positions among the Turcomans, Arabs and Kurds in the council by 32% for each group, the recognition of the Turcoman language as an official one and removing the "illegal" excesses in the city of Kirkuk.

The Kirkuk provincial council chief, Rizkar Ali, had told VOI that members of the Taakhi list would hold a meeting on Monday with the Turcomans to discuss means to end their boycott of the council.

The Kirkuk local council comprises 41 elected members, 26 of them belong to the Taakhi, the list set up by the two main Kurdish parties – Iraqi President Jalal Talabani's Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) and Iraqi Kurdistan Region President Massoud Barazani's Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP).

The Arabs occupy six seats, the Iraqi Turcoman Front (ITF) occupies eight seats while the Islamic Party of Iraqi Turcomans occupies only one.

The Arabs and Turcomans had suspended their membership in the local council in April 2005 over differences with the Kurds but terminated their boycott late last year and received the Kirkuk deputy governor post and other positions after an agreement with the Taakhi list to distribute posts by 32 percent among all lists.

Kirkuk, a potpourri of ethnic Arabs, Kurds, Turcomans, Assyrians and other minorities, lies 250 km northeast of the Iraqi capital Baghdad.AE

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