Kirkuk Shines Spotlight on Turkey’s Iraq Policy

By Ilnur Cevik for Al-Monitor. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Turkish authorities fear that three deadly bomb attacks in Kirkuk and Tuz Khurmatu in the past month aim to further fuel the tensions between Iraqi Arabs and Kurds and push the country into chaos and disruption, creating a new source of instability at Turkey’s doorstep.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry was quick to strongly condemn the latest bomb attack on the police headquarters in Kirkuk on Feb. 3, which left 36 dead and 105 wounded, saying, “The instigators of these attacks aim to create friction among the Iraqi people in Kirkuk and Tuz Khurmatu, where different ethnic and religious groups live. We believe the Iraqi people will stand firm against these dark scenerios in Iraq.”

In a concilitary tone intended to ease Ankara’s chilly relations with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, the Foreign Ministry statement called Iraq “a friend and ally” and offered to “provide all kinds of support healing the wounds caused by terrorism.”

Al-Monitor learned that Turkish authorities informed their Iraqi Arab and Kurdish counterparts that Turkey is willing to ship those wounded in the Kirkuk attack toTurkish hospitals for treatment.

A double bomb attack in Kirkuk on Jan. 16 left 33 dead while soon after, a suicide bomber in nearby Tuz Khurmatu wrecked havoc and killed 42 people, mostly Shiite Turkmens, when he attacked a funeral procession. Some of the wounded Turkmens were brought to Turkey for treatment.

Meanwhile, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu met with Iraqi Kurdish leader Massoud Barzani in Davos, Switzerland on Jan. 23, where he voiced fear that the Turkmens of Iraq, regarded as the relatives of the Turks, have been caught in the crossfire in the conflict between Kurds and Arabs in Northern Iraq.

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One Response to Kirkuk Shines Spotlight on Turkey’s Iraq Policy

  1. Lorenzo February 12, 2013 at 9:42 am #

    For the time being, it seems that the Kurds are best positioned to provide help and support to all Turkmen in Iraq. The turkish influence in the KRG is enormous and thus indirectly influence on the Turkmen.
    The KRG is not the party who will stop medical care for turkmen as it has happened with the wounded in Kirkuk not allowing planes to land and take turkmen to Turkey for care.
    But the kurds have to improve and visualize this “protection” by deeds and not merely words. The turkmen are really in bad shape when are attacked by Al-Qaeda and shia arabs because they feel unprotected.
    So who will protect the Turkmen of Iraq? The kurds ar best positioned since they have most to gain with such support.