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QA:17 -;2 May 2007, Statement of the Spokesman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkey (Unofficial Translation)


Press reports suggesting that an Iraqi Council of Ministers High Commission decision concerning the implementation of Article 140 of the Iraqi Consitution, pertaining to the determination of the final status of Kirkuk as well as other disputed territories was approved while Prime Minister Maliki was out of the country and that forms are being distributed to Arab families willing to leave Kirkuk in exchange of financial reimbursement have also came to our attention. It is deemed necessary to remind the public opinion once again our points of view and expectations on these issues.

Amendment of the Iraqi constitution, and within this context amendment of Article 140 and postponement of the implementation of or determining the means of implementation of the said Article, are issues that should be resolved by the Iraqi National Assembly on a consensus basis. As these issues concern the common future of all Iraqis, settlement of such matters through consensus among all Iraqi groups is a necessity that commonsense and regional stability calls for. However, we witness with regret neither a common understanding nor a consensus emerging from the deliberations of the Iraqi National Assembly regarding this subject.

It is obvious that rushing these issues or attempting to solve them by one-sided approaches based on pushing near-sighted maximalist agendas of certain groups which entail fait accomplis will have negative repercussions on Iraq’s territorial integrity, national unity and internal peace. We expect that Turkey’s legitimate concerns be taken into consideration. Turkey has always given high priority to the well-being of Iraq.

In fact, numerous recently published reports, including International Crisis Group’s Kirkuk Report and Baker-Hamilton Report, prove that our country’s concerns on regional stability are widely shared by the international community. In this respect, we preserve our conviction that all challenges that concern Iraq should be resolved through consensus-based solutions, involving active participation of all Iraqi groups.

Furthermore, decisions on the implementation of Article 140 must not be based on fait accomplis or coercion. Rather, as with all other challenges in Iraq, this issue should be resolved through the common will of all the groups represented at the Iraqi National Assembly taking into consideration the common future and interests of all the components of the Iraqi nation.

Disruptive situations emanating from Iraq affect not only Iraq and Iraqi citizens, but also its neighbours and our region. As such, Turkey’s sensitivities stem from the importance it attaches to regional security and stability, and they should by no means be interpreted as interference in Iraq’s domestic affairs.