The rights of Kirkuk's Turkmen residents are being violated by the governing Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) party, according to Ali Mehdi, a spokesman for the Iraqi Turkmen Front.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency on Wednesday, Mehdi slammed Kirkuk's PUK-affiliated governor, Najmaldin Karim, saying the safety of city residents "depends on their political and ethnic affiliations."
"Turkmen [in Kirkuk] are subject to kidnappings and assassinations on a daily basis, while local security forces look on as mere spectators," Mehdi said.
He went on to lament that, even though the troubles faced by Turkmen had been conveyed to the U.N. representatives, the situation has not improved.
In April, Kirkuk's provincial council began raising the Kurdish regional flag, alongside the Iraqi national flag, over local government institutions, prompting a row between Turkmen and Arab residents.Although Iraq's parliament later decided that the Kurdish regional flag should be taken down, the decision was never implemented by local authorities.
While Baghdad claims administrative authority over Kirkuk, the PUK calls for the city's incorporation into northern Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdish region.
Kirkuk's population is comprised primarily of Arab, Turkmen and Kurds. In the wake of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, Kurdish peshmerga forces seized Kirkuk, prompting an influx of Kurds into the city.
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