Müftüoğlu’s comments were in response to the Kirkuk governor’s earlier move to officially hoist the Kurdish flag across the province last week. Governor Najmadin Karim has asked Kirkuk’s provincial council to hoist the Kurdish flag alongside the Iraqi flag at official offices during the Kurdish New Year celebrations (Newroz). Although patrolled by Kurdish Peshmerga and security forces, Kirkuk is part of a constitutional article that defines the province as a “disputed territory” where Kurds, Arabs and Turkmen have territorial claims. Hoisting Kurdish flags in Kirkuk by private citizens are common, but the official flag at government offices is the Iraqi national flag. In response, Ahmad Askari, member of the Kirkuk Provincial Council said: “The comments of the Turkish foreign minister are a clear meddling in Iraq and Kurdistan Region’s internal affairs. Raising the Kurdish flag is a domestic issue and has nothing to do with Turkey”. Askari wondered “Why is it okay to hoist the Kurdish flag in Ankara and Istanbul but not in Kirkuk? We haven’t thrown away the flag of Iraq and only insist on raising the Kurdish flag next to it”.
Iraq and Iran signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on Monday to study the construction of a pipeline to export crude oil from Kirkuk fields to Iran, Iraq’s oil ministry said. The agreement also calls for a commission to solve the conflict about joint oilfields and the possible transportation of Iraqi crude oil to Iran’s Abadan refinery, the statement added and agrred with the Iraqi oil minister he will visit his Iranian counterpart to cooperate on the policies of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). Iran and Iraq decided on a plan for developing a pipeline to carry 40 mcm of gas to Iraq in September 2015. The plan was delayed over security concerns resulting from the war the Islamic State (ISIS) group has waged in Iraq.
International coalition air force airstrike at southwest of Kirkuk killed 20 ISIS members, the source said. “The international coalition air force bombarded, at noon today, headquarters of the Islamic State in the areas of Taza and al-Rashad (35 km southwest of Kirkuk), killing 20 fighters of the group.” The airstrikes coalition collaborated with Iraqi Intelligence authorities.