We are not part of your struggles, Iraqi Turkmen Front ITF to PUK and KDP

Lawsuit against Quota Seats for Minorities in Iraqi Kurdistan Parliament might Lead to Reshuffle

The Turkmen Front launches a propaganda campaign to promote its candidates in the city’s neighborhoods, Erbil, September 2021. Media of the Iraqi Turkmen Front ITF in Erbil.

By KirkukNow

One of the leading Turkmen parties denied being part of the struggle between the leading Kurdish parties over quota seats for the minorities in the parliament of the Iraqi Kurdistan Region IKR for upcoming February 2024 elections.

The Iraqi Turkmen Front ITF called on the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan PUK and the Kurdistan Democratic Party KDP not to make the Turkmen a part of the conflicts between them and not to prejudice the quota seats of the components in the IKR.

The claim came at a time when the Iraqi Federal Court was scheduled to decide on a lawsuit by the PUK regarding five articles in the Kurdistan Regional Parliament elections law, including quota seats.

Aydin Marouf, the Regional Minister for Component Affairs in the Kurdistan Regional Government KRG and a member of the Political Bureau of the ITF, told (KirkukNow), “The Turkmen component is not part of the conflict between the Kurdistan Democratic Party, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, and the other Kurdistan parties.”

“The issue of quota seats was organized and fixed according to the law, so making any change will have bad consequences and will harm the cause of democracy and coexistence in the (Iraqi) Kurdistan Region.”

According to Article 36 of the Kurdistan Regional Parliament Elections Law, five quota seats were allocated to the Turkmen, five seats to the Chaldean Syriac Assyrian component, and one seat to the Armenians.

Turkmens, the third largest ethnic group in Iraq after Arabs and Kurds, are spread across the country, residing almost exclusively in the northern towns and villages stretching from Tal Afar through Mosul, Erbil, Altun center of Kirkuk and Altun Kopri district, Tuz Khurmatu of Salahaddin and Kifri and Khanaqin in DIyala. They are all Muslims, half Sunnis and half Shiites.

Though there are no official records about the Turkmens in Kirkuk, The Turkmen political parties say there are over 200,000 Turkmen voters in Kirkuk which has been divided into three constituencies for 12 seats in October 10th, 2021 General Elections.

Turkmen political parties have gathered only 100,000 votes in May 2018 public elections in Kirkuk , making three seats yet dropped to only two seat in 2021 General Elections.


 Aydin Marouf, Regional Minister for Component Affairs in the Kurdistan Regional Council of Ministers, Erbil, September 2022. Media of Aydin Marouf’s office

The PUK is seeking through the Federal Court to change the article and a number of other articles in the law after it filed an appeal in the Federal Court.

Ziad Jabbar, head of the PUK bloc in the fifth session of the Kurdistan Parliament, told KirkukNow, “According to the agreement concluded between the KDP and PUK, as well as between the KDP and the Change Movement - during the formation of the regional government - one of the points was related to amending the election law.”

“During the past four years, the issue has been discussed several times, all in order to ensure fair elections and for the citizens of Kurdistan to have real representation in Parliament.”

The PUK publicly argued the KDP pushes to keep the quota seats in order to guarantee its lobby in the Iraqi Kurdistan Parliament since most of the Turkmens and Christians live in Erbil and their political parties ally with the KDP.

“All parties know that the current law was issued in 1992, while five different laws have been issued so far in five elections of Iraq, so the law must be amended... diligent efforts were made, but we did not reach an agreement within the legal period of the Parliament, so we resorted to the Federal Court to resolve the issue,” Jabbar added.

Other articles in the election law about which the PUK submitted complaints relate to the number of members of Parliament, which is 111. The law also considered the IKR as one electoral constituency, but the PUK supports dividing the region into four electoral districts. The PUK also appealed the articles related to voter records and the percentage of Women candidates on electoral lists.

We are in favor of the components having real representation all over Kurdistan Region

The Puk denies charges that its efforts are against the minorities.

“We are in favor of the components having real representation all over Kurdistan Region. Other than that, we have no other say,” Jabbar said.

"There is no political force that has shown respect for the components as much as the PUK. Even the issue of the quota for components was one of our proposals, but we have observations and we believe it is necessary to make changes in it," without clarifying more about those observations.

Regarding whether the ITF had requested anything from the PUK and the Federal Court, Marouf said, “We have not formally presented any demands, but we call on the PUK to withdraw the lawsuit, or for the Federal Court to reject it.”

The first session of the Federal Court regarding the complaint submitted by the PUK was held on June 11, and the fourth session was postponed on October 15.

According to information (KirkukNow), the court is scheduled to hold its final session next week and make a final decision on the case.

The components in the IKR are often accused of supporting the agenda of the KDP, but Aydin Marouf stressed that “Turkmen participate in the Kurdistan Regional Government, so it is natural for us to defend the policy of the regional government in Parliament.”

“But representatives of the components must serve in Parliament.” Kurdistan, the components to which they belong.

  • FB
  • Instagram
  • Twitter
  • YT