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Türkiye: Iraq’s move to curb Turkmen language ‘violates fundamental rights’

Türkiye has denounced the recent decision of the Iraqi Council of Ministers to limit the use of the Turkmen language in northern Kirkuk province.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday that the decision is “a violation of the fundamental rights of the Turkmens, who are one of the constituent and primary components of Iraq.”

It is also contradictory to provisions of the Iraqi Constitution “as Article Four of the Constitution stipulates that Turkmen will be the official language in the administrative units in which Turkmen population is concentrated,” Ankara said.

“Likewise, Article 125 of the Iraqi Constitution emphasises that the Constitution guarantees the administrative and cultural rights of all components of Iraq,” it said.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry said that Iraqi authorities should immediately review the decision.

Such moves “ignore the rights and sensitivities of one of the main components of Iraq and the province of Kirkuk,” it said and warned that the decision “will harm the efforts towards establishing a culture of peaceful coexistence in Kirkuk.”

The Kirkuk province has a sizeable ethnic Turkmen population dating to the Ottoman centuries, and as Iraq’s neighbour, Türkiye has taken a firm stance against “attempts to manipulate” the area’s ethnic makeup.

There are no official figures for Iraq’s total Turkmen population, but Turkmen officials say they account for about seven percent of the country’s population of more than 40 million.

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