World Bulletin / News Desk
The Iraqi parliament on Saturday voted against a decision to raise the flag of northern Iraq's Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) on public buildings and institutions in Kirkuk city.
In a session attended by 186 members of the 328-seat parliament, the MPs voted in favor of flying only the Iraqi flag on Kirkuk's buildings.
Kurdish lawmakers have walked out of the session before the vote, MP Hasan Turan told Anadolu Agency.
Last week, 26 Kurdish members of Kirkuk’s provincial assembly voted in favor of raising the KRG flag alongside Iraq’s national flag outside the city’s public buildings and institutions.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and Presidential Spokesman Ibrahim Kalin have criticized the move as a "mistake".
During the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, Kurdish Peshmerga forces have seized Kirkuk, prompting an influx of Kurds into the city.
Baghdad says Kirkuk is administratively dependent on Iraq’s central government, while the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan party demands Kirkuk’s incorporation into the Kurdish Region.
The city’s Turkmen residents, however, oppose this idea, saying Kirkuk should enjoy a “special status”.
Kirkuk’s population is mainly composed of Arab, Turkmen and Kurdish inhabitants.