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Iraqi Turkmen leader calls for dialogue to ease tension in Kirkuk


Head of the Iraqi Turkmen Front (ITF) Hasan Turan on Sunday called for dialogue among ethnic groups in Kirkuk amid tension in the northern city.

Protests broke out in Kirkuk last week following a decision by the Iraqi government to transfer the Kirkuk Operations Command headquarters to the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP).

The KDP argues that the building was previously used by them and should be given back to the party.

On Saturday, KDP supporters demonstrated in Kirkuk to demand the reopening of a highway linking the city to Erbil. The highway was closed by Iraqi Turkmens who oppose the handover of the building to the KDP.

Protesters blocked several roads by burning tires, forcing the local authorities to declare a curfew in the city. At least four people were killed in the violence.

In a statement, Turan said he met with Kirkuk Governor Rakan Al-Jabouri to discuss the situation in the city and efforts aimed at maintaining stability in the city.

He said dialogue and joint coordination must be strengthened among all ethnic groups in the city.

On Sunday, Iraq’s Federal Supreme Court suspended the government decision to hand over the army headquarters to the KDP.

Peshmerga forces of the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) were deployed to bases evacuated by the Iraqi army in Kirkuk following the emergence of the Daesh/ISIS terrorist group in 2014.

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