Unexpected development in Kirkuk

The PUK has put the Regional Administration flag, which was taken down throughout Kirkuk, back up in the official institutions under their control.

Following the referendum in Bashur (South Kurdistan), the Iraqi army, the federal police and the Hashd al-Shaabi forces intervened and took over Kirkuk and other disputed territories. In Mendeli, Khanaqin, Diyala, Tuz Khurmatu, Dakuk, Kirkuk and their surroundings the Regional Administration flags were taken down, as if there was a ban, which would in fact go against Iraqi law.


It was the ITC (Iraqi Turkmen Front) founded and fully supported by the MIT, who had been most glad when the Bashure Kurdistan Regional Administration flag war taken down from all party and state institutions in Kirkuk and other disputed territories.

One and a half years later, last night the PUK Kirkuk chapter hoisted the Regional Administration flag in party offices and official institutions under PUK control in an unexpected twist.


PUK Politbureau Member and Kirkuk Chapter officer Aso Mamend said: "There is no legal impediment to display the Kurdistan flag in Kirkuk or other disputed territories."

Mamend said they also celebrated Newroz in the Kirkuk Citadel last year like in previous years and they put up the Kurdistan flag.

Mamend said the people of Kirkuk should keep the peace and not have problems among constituents, and continued:

"We had the Kurdistan flag in PUK offices before, we never took it down. Other parties can also put up the Kurdistan flag alongside the Iraqi flag and their party flag. Not in general places though. We didn't make a deal with Iraqi or anti-terror forces, we put up the flag by our own decision.”

The Regional Administration flag being flown again has opened to discussion once again the situation of the KDP party offices that the Iraqi army forces and the Hashd al-Shaabi members use as headquarters in Kirkuk.

Mamend also spoke about this issue and said some KDP buildings had been evacuated before: "But nobody is keeping the KDP from returning to their party offices and their institutions.


A politics expert who wishes to remain anonymous for security reasons said the dangerous efforts of Turkey's ambassador to Baghdad in Kirkuk through the ITC and the arming and training of ITC members had a role in this. The expert said Iraq is trying to stop Turkey's dirty tricks over Kirkuk by clearing the path for Kurdish forces to return to Kirkuk, and added: "They are trying to make sure that the PUK and other Kurdish forces return to Kirkuk in some manner with these steps. This is a positive development, but I believe that Iraq has decided to go down this path because they want to stop Turkey's dangerous tricks. This is a positive thing for Iraq, but I think it will pit the puk against Turkey once again over Kirkuk.