Kirkuk, Mosul, Arbil are Turkmen cities: MHP leader

Kirkuk, Mosul, Arbil are Turkmen cities: MHP leader

Kirkuk, Mosul, Arbil are Turkmen cities: MHP leader

Kirkuk, Mosul and Arbil are all Turkmen cities, Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli has said, slamming Iraqi Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) leader Massoud Barzani’s bid for independence. 

“Kirkuk, Mosul and Arbil are Turkmen cities and we have many ties there,” Bahçeli said, addressing his party group at parliament on Oct. 3.

“This does not mean that we are neglecting or not acknowledging other people of Iraq, who have essential and equal rights,” he added.

Strongly criticizing Barzani for the independence referendum that took place on Sept. 25, Bahçeli reiterated the MHP’s stance against an independent Kurdish region, claiming that the referendum was the “preliminary work - a front door - for a four-part greater Kurdistan.”

He blasted the fact that the referendum was held in disputed regions such as Kirkuk, saying it would “harm the historical interests of the Iraqi Turkmens.”

“But the Iraqi Turkmens’ existence will never be ignored. Kirkuk has been Turkish throughout history. Today it is Turkish and it will be in the future. It is one of the glorious Turkish cities,” he added.

“While Turkmen’s rights have been violated, we could not be comfortable,” Bahçeli said.

He also hinted that the MHP would support a military operation by Turkey into northern Iraq, echoing President Tayyip Erdoğan’s statement that Turkey could intervene in the KRG “suddenly one night” and adding that “it will not be a problem for the Turkish Republic.”

“Barzani should come to his senses as soon as possible and cancel the referendum entirely, otherwise the territorial integrity of Iraq will be destroyed,” Bahçeli said.

“If the regional status quo is turned upside down, we should use our rights stemming from international agreements, particularly 1926 Ankara Agreement,” he added, claiming that Turkey even has the right to annex parts of northern Iraq.