After The Islamic State, Kirkuk Plans Independence

“The Iraqi Kurdish military and security forces are in charge of security in Kirkuk, and its oil is also exported through Iraqi Kurdistan,” argues Adnan Kirkuki, a senior member of, and spokesperson for, the KDP. “The future of the city is clear. It should be returned back to the Iraqi Kurdish region. Iraqi Kurdistan is getting ready to hold a referendum on Kurdish independence,” Kirkuki continues, referring to KDP leader, Massoud Barzani’s ongoing calls for independence from Iraq. “Kirkuk should be part of this.”

Turkmen politicians have slightly different ideas about Kirkuk’s independence. The Turkmen Front, which represents all the Turkmen parties in Kirkuk, has nine seats on the 41-seat provincial council. The Turkmen Front likes the idea of a Kirkuk region but it wants this to be permanent, with no possibility of Kirkuk later becoming part of Iraqi Kurdistan.

“Kirkuk should be transformed into an independent region,” agrees Ali Mahdi, the spokesperson for the Turkmen Front. “An independent Kirkuk could have a cabinet, president and parliament similar to that which Iraqi Kurdistan has now. But the senior positions in the new administration must be shared out equally between the Kurds, Arabs and Turkmen until there is peaceful coexistence in Kirkuk.”

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