Jun 19, 2008

Conference in Brussels on the Kerkuk Problem

Iraq: Defining Alternatives to the Kerkuk Problem

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A one-day conference in the European Parliament will examine how modern day Iraq is functioning, the changes being wrought in one important region, Kerkuk - the source of much of Iraq’s oil wealth, and the merits and pitfalls of the policy of ‘normalisation’ being pursued by Baghdad.


Kerkuk Problem and Article 140: Defining Alternatives

The views of Kerkuk’s Turkmen and Arabs

European Parliament, Brussels

- 23 June 2008 -

13.00 - 16.30

Iraq is a multi-ethnic and multi-religious country, home to numerous cultures and communities. Northern Iraq in particular is highly mixed, making it difficult to draw any boundaries on the basis of ethnicity. Even Erbil, which has now been made the Capital of the Kurdish region, is a highly mixed Turkmen-Kurdish-Assyrian city, whereas it was an almost purely Turkmen city in the turn of 20th century. The one million mainly Arabic Mosul and the geopolitically important Kerkuk region are now claimed and controlled mainly by the Kurdish political authorities. Institutions of ethnically based demarcation in this region are highly hazardous and threaten the future of the Iraqi state and the regional peace.

The huge casualties and the catastrophic tragedies since the occupation of Iraq demand significant awareness when attempting to solve problems. No doubt that the Kerkuk case is considered one of the major problems. A fair solution of the Kerkuk problem is important in the context of the equity, human rights and the principle of democracy, which are requested to be instituted in the Middle East. Durable solutions, which carry long lasting stability in the volatile region as the Middle East, should also be considered when the Kerkuk problem is investigated.

Little consensus has however emerged by the Iraqi constitution’s “normalization”, “census” and “referendum” to solve the problem, which instead has further complicated the democratic processes aimed at safeguarding future stability.

The complexity of the Kerkuk case has increasingly become more evident, particularly when the referendum, which is stated in the Iraqi constitution, could not be realized at the requested date - end 2007. In early 2008, the case was given to the United Nations, which still could not map the way of a solution. The European Union can be considered an important arbitrator of a solution.

Kerkuk is a city rich with both oil and history. The Iraqi Turkmen, in particular stand opposed to the city’s inclusion in a Kurdish region, drawing attention to the multi-ethnic nature of the city. They are calling for greater dialogue between all parties involved, including the Arabs, Assyrians, Kurds and Turkmen. This conference aims to discuss alternative strategies for the future of Kerkuk.

Including Participation from;

Ana Maria Gomez, MEP, Parliament’s Rapporteur on Iraq

Marino Busdachin, UNPO General Secretary 

Ali M. Sadeq, member of Kerkuk City Council

Yako Michael Jajjo, Foundation Assyria

Mohammed Kh. Nasef, Member of Kerkuk City Council, member of article 140 committee

Mohammed Mahdi  Ameen, Member of the Iraqi Parliament

Muzaffer Arslan, Advisor on Turkmen Affairs to the President of Iraq H.E. Jalal Talabani

Rakan S. Ali, member of Kerkuk City Council

Sheth Jerjis, SOITM Chairman

Tahsin Mohammed Ali Wali, Member of Kerkuk City Council, member of article 140 committee



The Conference will be held on 23 June in Room 5 G 2 of the European Parliament, Rue Wiertz, 1047, Brussels, from 13.00 - 16.30.

For more information, queries, or registration, please contact the SOITM Secretariat, by telephone: +31(0) 24 844 1414, or by e-mail: [email protected]