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Iraq withdraws decision to curb use of Turkmen language in Kirkuk

Following uproar within and outside the country, Iraq has retracted its decision to limit the use of the Turkmen language in its northern Kirkuk province, local media reported.

Iraq’s Prime Minister Shia al-Sudani directed authorities on Thursday to ensure that Turkmen remains part of the languages used for official correspondence in Kirkuk, along with Arabic and Kurdish, according to state news agency INA.

A day earlier, the government moved to bar Turkmen from the list of official languages in Kirkuk, a region with a sizeable ethnic Turkmen population dating to the Ottoman era.

The decision drew immediate backlash from Kirkuk’s Turkmen community, with Turkmen leaders rejecting it as unconstitutional and unacceptable.


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

Türkiye also denounced the step, calling it “a violation of the fundamental rights of the Turkmens, who are one of the constituent and primary components of Iraq.”

“It also clearly contradicts with the 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,” a Turkish Foreign Ministry statement said.

Such steps “ignore the rights and sensitivities” of the Turkmen community and “will harm the efforts towards establishing a culture of peaceful coexistence in Kirkuk,” the ministry said, urging Iraqi authorities to review the decision as soon as possible.

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.

Türkiye calls on Iraq not to issue statements under PKK influence

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