Iraqi PM spokesman slams raising Kurdish flag over Kirkuk official premises

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SULAIMANI — The absence of Arab and Turkmen blocs from a Kirkuk Provincial Council meeting on the decision to raise the Kurdistan Region’s flag in the Kirkuk Governorate was a violation of the Iraqi Constitution, the spokesman for the Iraqi PM said on Tuesday (March 28).

Saad al-Hadithi told NRT Arabic in a statement the Kurdistan Region has no right to hold onto the Kirkuk Governorate and stated the governorate is linked to the federal government according to Provincial Law No. 36 of 2008.

The law allegedly limits the Kirkuk Council from issuing decisions such as raising the Kurdish flag in the city.

Hadithi said raising the Kurdistan Region’s flag over official premises “will lead to problems and tensions between all components and we must respect the will of all communities in order to maintain peaceful coexistence.”

“We currently need to unite,” he added.

Kirkuk Governor Najmadin Karim on March 14 requested the Kirkuk Provincial Council vote on a decision to raise the Kurdistan Region’s flag over official buildings in the governorate.

Provincial council members voted on Tuesday overwhelmingly in favor of raising the Kurdistan Region’s flag over official buildings, during a meeting boycotted by Turkmen and Arabs.

The United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) expressed concern over the request saying the Iraqi constitution clarifies Kirkuk falls under the jurisdiction of the government of Iraq and that no flag should be raised in the governorate other than the Iraqi flag.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry also criticized the decision on March 19 saying “taking one-sided decisions” in Kirkuk could harm the efforts to achieve stability and build a consensus in Iraq.