Nationalist leader Bahçeli: Kirkuk will remain ‘Turkish’ forever

Nationalist leader Bahçeli: Kirkuk will remain ‘Turkish’ forever

Nationalist leader Bahçeli: Kirkuk will remain ‘Turkish’ forever

Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli speaks at parliamentary group meeting. DAILY NEWS photo / Selahattin SÖNMEZ

The Turkish government has abandoned the Turkmen minority in Kirkuk for the sake of energy deals with Iraq’s Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), but the city will remain Turkish forever, Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli said today.

While noting that the Turkish government’s relations with the Iraqi Kurdish administration had improved in recent years, Bahçeli accused “the Peshmarga administration” of conducting secret operations against Turkmen people and called on the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) to take rapid action in order to protect Turkmens’ rights.

“Kirkuk is Turkish and will remain Turkish forever,” Bahçeli said during his parliamentary group meeting. “Kirkuk is love, passion to us,” Bahçeli said, adding that he considered Kirkuk to be no different than Istanbul and Ankara.

Bahçeli also extended condolences to Turkmens following a recent coordinated attack on Kirkuk’s police headquarters – a suicide car bomb followed by an assault by grenade-throwing gunmen – that killed 30 people and wounded 88 others.

Recalling messages of solidarity given to Turkmens by Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu during an August 2012 visit to Kirkuk, the MHP leader said the AKP government had failed to display this solidarity in practice. Instead, the government has been “inconsistent, insincere and exploitative,” he said.

He also suggested that the energy deals signed by the Turkish government and the Iraqi Kurdish administration have turned into an issue of priority for the AKP instead of the situation of the Turkmens.

Kirkuk, a multiethnic city of Arabs, Kurds and Turkmen 240 kilometers north of Baghdad, lies at the heart of a dispute between Iraq’s central government and the autonomous Kurdistan region.