Middle East News
Turkey warns of "very big civil war" in Kirkuk
Jan 27, 2007, 12:55 GMT
Istanbul - Turkey warned Saturday against integrating the multiethnic city of Kirkuk, northern Iraq, into an autonomous Kurdish region.
'I fear that it could come to a very big civil war,' said Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Ergodan in a television interview.
'Kirkuk belongs to all Iraqis,' he said. 'It would be wrong to give the city to only one ethnic group.'
Turkey fears that Kurdish control of the oil-rich city could lead to the creation of a Kurdish state in northern Iraq and one which is capable of surviving economically.
Erdogan called for Kirkuk to be given a special status, and said the referendum scheduled for late 2007 on the future of the city as foreseen by the Iraqi constitution, was a mistake.
The referendum should at least be postponed, he said. Resolving the problem would be an important step towards peace and for the future of the city.© 2007 dpa - Deutsche Presse-Agentur