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Turkey seeks delay in Iraqi referendum on Kirkuk status

[JURIST] Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan [official profile; BBC profile] asked Iraq's leadership to postpone a decision on future control of the city of Kirkuk [Global Security backgrounder] on Tuesday, citing concerns for the growth of a Kurdish insurgency in Turkey. The Iraqi constitution [JURIST news archive], however, mandates that a referendum on the future of the city must take place by the end of this year. According to Erdogan, the city is not yet secure enough, and as such, a decision on control over it must be delayed.

Turkey has long been concerned about the possibility of Kurdish control over the Kirkuk region. In 2003, Human Rights Watch [advocacy website] sent a letter [JURIST report] to Erdogan urging Turkey to take steps to ensure that the human rights of the local Kurdish population are protected in the event of any Turkish military operations around Kirkuk. Leaders of the Kurdish Alliance have previously accused [JURIST report] Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari of "violating the laws" by breaking promises on Kurdish resettlement around Kirkuk. AP has more.

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