"Rotation of positions among ethnicities"
Initiative by Turkmen party for local government of Kirkuk

Hasan Turan, head of the Iraqi Turkmen Front ITF

By KirkukNow

The Iraqi Turkmen Front ITF, one of the Turkmen political parties, launched the “Kirkuk Vision 2024-2028” initiative, calling for the rotation of senior administrative, military and security positions among the main ethnicities in Kirkuk Governorate.

The initiative was announced on Wednesday, January 10, by the head of the head of the ITF list, Hasan Turan, which included six sectors, carried the slogan “Kirkuk is a model of coexistence, partnership, and cultural diversity.”


Power sharing

This sector consists of six points in which it was called for the forces participating in the formation of the local government to commit to rotating senior positions among the political parties participating in its formation according to a time limit that will be determined at a later stage.

It stated that the sharing of power in security and administrative positions in Kirkuk Governorate should take into account efficiency, equal opportunities, inclusion, and representation of the components of Kirkuk, with the necessity of achieving equality in this sharing between the three main components (Arabs, Kurds, and Turkmens).

The initiative stressed “the commitment in distributing positions, provided that the percentage of representation of any component is not less than the other two components,” and that “to be applied in public jobs, with 12% of the new jobs and grades allocated to achieve balance until equality is reached between the three components.”

Regarding Christians and other components, the initiative emphasizes their participation in the agreement at a rate of 4 percent for security and administrative positions.

It was stated in one of the points of the power-sharing aspect, “The representatives of the components must enable competent elements to occupy any administrative position in the governorate in a way that ensures the representation of all components... and that no position be monopolized by any ethnicity.”

“The Prime Minister issues a court order to oblige all departments to implement the terms of the agreement.”

The northern oil-rich city of Kirkuk, located 238 kilometers north of Baghdad, is an ethnically mixed province for 1.7 million Kurds, Sunni and Shiite Arabs, and Turkmen. It has long been at the center of disputed territories between Baghdad and Erbil. Kirkuk province consists of four districts, covers an area of more than 9,600 square kilometers.


The security and military

This part includes two points. The first calls for approaching the Commander-in-Chief of the Iraqi Armed Forces to agree, in accordance with the government program, to form a military division affiliated with the Ministry of Defense or the Federal Police affiliated with the Ministry of Interior from the people of Kirkuk in equal proportions to take over the security file with the local police in the city center.

The second point stressed "keeping the security file in the hands of the federal forces in accordance with the mechanisms in place in other governorates."


Agricultural lands

The initiative stipulated the need for the local government and representatives of the components to support the draft law sent by the government to the House of Representatives to cancel the decisions of the Revolutionary Command Council related to Kirkuk in a way that ensures the return of the lands to their legal owners and compensation to the contract owners, while committing to prohibit ownership for the purposes of demographic change.

The initiative stresses the cancellation of all decisions issued by the Northern Affairs Committee (cancelled) and the establishment of a fund financed from the general budget or petrodollar allocations to support the compensation fund for the purpose of resolving this issue, which in some areas is a cause of ethnic tension and “endangers societal security.”

The initiative calls for preserving state lands and taking decisive measures against trespassers on state property, in addition to stopping investment until the issue of ownership disputes is resolved and the return of public and private property that was illegally seized, while preserving green spaces and preventing encroachment on them.

Resolution No. 29 of 2012 regarding the annulment of all decisions of the North Affairs Committee (cancelled) of Baath Party chaired by Saddam Hussein, about the transfer of ownership, expropriation, confiscation and extinguishing the rights to dispose of agricultural lands not owned by Arabs in the disputed territories, including Kirkuk, as well as the annulment of all agricultural contracts.

In the seventies of the last century, according to a decision of the Supreme Revolutionary Command Council and the Northern Affairs Committee during the rule of the Baath Party, most of the agricultural lands belonging to Kurdish farmers were distributed in several regions of Kirkuk with agricultural contracts to Arab farmers who came from central and southern Iraq and settled in Kirkuk, as part of a process Arabization and deportation of Kurdish and Turkmen families.

Ownership of agricultural lands is one of the complicated issues in Kirkuk Governorate and other disputed territories that have remained suspended for 20 years and resulted in tension and clashes between Kurdish, Turkmen and Arab farmers.

The Kurdish and Turkmen farmers claim they are the real owners of the lands confiscated by Saddam regime and given per contracts to Arab settlers.


Economy and investment

The initiative calls on the local government to reconsider the general investment policy and establish the Reconstruction and Development Fund, as well as creating job opportunities for the young people of Kirkuk, developing the water project, reconsidering the basic design project for the city of Kirkuk, developing public parks and rehabilitating the private project.

The disputed territories between Erbil and Baghdad extend from Khanaqin in the east on the border with Iran to the oil rich city of Kirkuk heading to the west of Mosul in Shingal, home to Ezidi ethno-religious minority, on the border with Syria.

Turkmen, the third largest ethnic group in Iraq after Arabs and Kurds, are spread across the country, residing almost exclusively in the northern towns and villages stretching from Tal Afar through Mosul, Erbil, Altun Kopri, Kirkuk, Tuz Khurmatu, Kifri and Khanaqin. They are all Muslims, half Sunnis and half Shiites.


Energy, oil and transportation

The ITF initiative calls for the establishment of the Kirkuk Oil Company to manage the oil fields in Kirkuk and allocate petrodollar revenues for the reconstruction and services of Kirkuk, in addition to rehabilitating power generation plants, accounting for those violating the national electricity system, and issuing instructions to regulate the work of private generators.

The initiative emphasizes encouraging the public and private sectors to install and use solar energy systems and establish the Kirkuk oil refinery to increase the governorate’s entitlements from the petrodollar share in order to improve services and infrastructure.

This part included a call to address the environmental and health pollution that the governorate suffers from due to gases emitted from oil refineries.

Regarding the transportation sector, the initiative called for supporting and developing Kirkuk International Airport and establishing a free zone for trade exchange.

Crude oil exports from the Kirkuk fields through pipelines and tanks during 2022 exceeded 29.5 million barrels, with revenues exceeding $2.8 billion.

There are five main crude oil producing fields in Kirkuk province; Avana, Bay Hassan, Baba Dome, Jambur and Khabaza, under the control of the Iraqi Government’s North Oil Company.


Culture, tourism and coexistence

The initiative calls for the rehabilitation of Kirkuk Citadel and all archaeological sites, including Qishla of Kirkuk. It also calls for holding an annual Kirkuk Forum with the participation of Kirkuk officials and intellectuals to discuss the problems and challenges facing the governorate in order to address them.


Implementation guarantees

To ensure the implementation of the initiative's provisions, Turan called for the formation of a committee, by order of the Prime Mister, from representatives of Kirkuk's components in the Provincial Council and senior positions in the province, with the participation of the Prime Minister's representative, "to ensure the implementation of the agreement and ease the obstacles."

It stated that the committee “submits its reports to the Prime Minister and the political forces and addresses any challenge that arises in the governorate.”

Part of the initiative stated that national and international expertise could be used to successfully implement the agreement.

In conclusion, the initiative indicated that “the State Administration Alliance - the parties that make up the current Iraqi government - ratified the agreement and signed it under the auspices of the four presidencies.”

The announcement of the initiative came a day after a phone call between the head of the Turkmen Front, Hassan Turan, and the President of the Iraqi Republic, Latif Rashid, in which they stressed the formation of the local government to ensure the participation of all components of the province.

Unlike other Iraqi provinces, Kirkuk was deprived under the Provincial Council Elections Law of the right to make changes through elections and has not yet emerged from the quota circle because it requires the participation of all components.

The United Iraqi Turkmen Front list won two seats in the Kirkuk Provincial Council elections that took place on December 18, out of a total of 16 seats in the Provincial Council.

The initiative also came a week after Hasan Turan's visit to Turkey and his meeting with Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan, in which they spoke, according to a statement from Hasan Turan's office, about the local elections in Iraq and the rights of the Turkmen.

In the recent Iraqi provincial council elections, the results of whichhas not yet been approved by the Independent High Electoral Commission IHEC, the Kurds won seven seats, six for the Arabs, the Turkmen got two seats, in addition to the quota seat for the Christians.

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