KRG to disregard Iraqi government's flag decision

DAILY SABAH
ISTANBUL
Published 02.04.2017 22:03

The Kirkuk Provincial Council declared that they would not implement the Iraqi central government's decree to prohibit the presence of the Kurdistan Regional Government's (KRG) flag alongside the Iraqi national flag at government buildings.

Kirkuk Provincial Council Chairman Rebiwar Talabani said at a press conference that they would not implement the decision of the Iraqi government since they don't have the obligation to implement every decision that the government takes according to the Iraqi Federal Court.

"The Kirkuk Provincial Council made the decision to hang the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG)'s flag according to Article 115 and 140 of the Iraqi Constitution. According to Article 115, local councils can issue verdicts outside the realm of authority of the central government. In addition, in Article 140, Kirkuk is defined among the disputed regions between the KRG and the Iraqi central government. Both sides have the right to hang their own flag. That is why the decision is not contradictory to the Iraqi constitution," said Talabani, stating that this is their constitutional right and that they hope President Fuad Masum does not approve parliament's decision.

Last Thursday, the Kirkuk Governorate requested that the Kirkuk Provincial Council (KPC) raise the KRG flag alongside the Iraqi flag at local institutions and establish the use of Kurdish alongside Arabic. On Tuesday, the KPC adopted a decision to raise the KRG flag in government buildings in a session boycotted by Arab and Turkmen members.

The Iraqi Parliament decided Saturday to reject the Kirkuk Governorate's decision to hoist the flag of northern Iraq's Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) alongside the flag of Iraq at government buildings.

Speaking during a televised interview on Saturday regarding the issue, Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım said that raising a flag other than Iraq's national one goes against the Iraqi constitution and is an unacceptable move.Kirkuk is among the disputed territories between the central government and the KRG, which is defined in Article 140 of the Iraqi constitution, adopted after the U.S. invasion of Iraq and the toppling of Saddam Hussein. Accordingly, the administrative statuses of these areas were to be determined with referendums by 2007, but the referendums have not been held so far due to political turmoil in the country.Although the countryside of Kirkuk is predominantly inhabited by Kurds, the city itself is predominantly inhabited by Arabs and Iraqi Turkmens. The region was subjected to an Arabization policy during the Baath Party rule, but after 2003 this policy was reversed in favor of Kurds, prompting protests by the local Arab and Turkmen population and raising concerns in Ankara.

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