World Bulletin / News Desk
Iraqi Turkmen leader Ersad Salihi has slammed the president of the autonomous Kurdish Regional Government of northern Iraq, Masoud Barzai, after the latter insisted that Kurdish forces would not be pulling out of Kirkuk during a meeting with British Foreign Minister William Hague on Friday.
President Barzani had sent Kurdish Peshmerga forces to occupy the oil-rich Iraqi Turkmen city of Kirkuk as a precaution against advancing rebels from the self-styled Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) after they main gains in Iraq's Sunni heartland following the capture of its second largest city Mosul on June 10.
Salihi, who has ordered the Iraqi Turkmen community of Kirkuk to take up arms against the ISIL, criticised the opportunist behaviour of Barzani, vowing that Kirkuk would not be annexed by the Kurdish region.
"The arrival of Peshmerga forces in Kirkuk should not be used for political gains. If this is the plan then we are telling the world that we are rejecting it from the beginning," Salihi said, adding that he accepts the situation due to the current pressing circumstances but would not accept a political or military approach once the situation has calmed.
Iraqi Turkmen Front executive committee member and politician Munir Kafili was shot dead in Kirkuk on Tuesday when unidentified gunmen attacked his vehicle.
The three million-strong Turkmen represent the third-largest ethnic group in Iraq, constituting 13 percent of the population.
Over 300 thousand Turkmen have been displaced so far during the fighting in the country. Some of them fled to Turkey.Last Mod: 28 Haziran 2014, 16:17