Turkish FM Ahmet Davutoğlu’s visit to Kirkuk

August 4, 2012 at 3:38 pm | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment

Bilgay Duman ORSAM Middle East Specialist

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu paid a visit to Arbil on 1 August 2012 to talk on the recent events breaking out in the areas where Kurds reside in Syria, and held official talks in Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). But then, he made a surprising visit to Kirkuk on 2 August 2012. As the visit took place on the day that this article was written, it is not possible to give the details. Neverthless, he talked to Kirkuk Governor Necmettin Kerim in the morning. In this article, the importance for both Iraq and Turkmens will be handled.

Ahmet Davutoğlu’s visit to Kirkuk is extremely important. As a result of the developments taking place in Kirkuk in the post-2003 and the efforts of Kurdish groups to seize power in this city, the deadlock in Kirkuk has been carried until today. Kirkuk has become a deadlock in Iraqi politics and it has been a subject in all the political bargains. At this point, the talks to be held and statements to be made on this problem during Ahmet Davutoğlu’s visit to Iraq could be effective in solving the aforesaid problem, and it could facilitate solving the Kirkuk deadlock, in other words the most important political gridlock of Iraq.

The visits to Kirkuk that we can call the center of Turkmen entity in Iraq have been limited, and none of the Turkish officials paid a visit to Kirkuk from 1976 until 2006. The last visit   paid by Turkish officials to Kirkuk was the one that was paid by the delegation of GNAT (Grand National Assembly of Turkey), including AK Party Balıkesir Deputy Turhan Çömez and CHP Tokat Deputy Orhan Ziya Diren, on 26 May 2006. Following the establishment of the Iraqi state, the delegation, which was going to sign the Sa’dabad Pact in 1937 and before that visited Iraq within the scope of the last preparations of the Pact and which included the then-Foreign Minister Tevfik Rüştü Aras and then-Minister of Economy Celal Bayar, paid the first visit to Kirkuk.

The delegation, which paid a visit to Iraq on 17-28 November 1954 and comprised of Turkish academicians like Prof. Dr. Ekrem Şerif Egeli, Prof. Dr. Tevfik Remzi Kazancıgül, Prof. Dr. Behçet Sabit Erduran and Prof. Dr. Fahrettin Kerim Gökay, passed from Baghdad to Kirkuk on 23 November 1954.
Between 6-12 November 1955, the delegation, composed of the then Prime Minsiter Adnan Menderes, Foreign Minister Fuat Köprülü, Minister of Economy Nedim Paçacı and Minister of Public Works Kemal Zeytinoğlu, examined the oil facilities and got information about the facilities by visiting Kirkuk on 9 November 1955.

Afterwards, then Prime Minister Süleyman Demirel paid a visit to Iraq on 20-24 October 1967 upon the invitation of the Iraqi Prime Minister General Taher Yahya.

After the visit of Demirel, it was stated that President Cevdet Sunay paid visits to Kufa Karbala, Najaf, Kirkuk and Mosul between the dates 27 April – 1 May 1968.

On 27 April 1976, also the President Fahri Korutürk visited Turkish Cultural Center in Kirkuk affiliated to the Turkish Ministry of Culture within the scope of his visit to Iraq.

The Kirkuk–Ceyhan Oil Pipeline Agreement was signed in 1973, and the then Prime Minister Süleyman Demirel paid a visit to Kirkuk for the opening ceremony on 3 January 1977.

Excluding the visit of the delegation of the GNAT in 2006, Ahmet Davutoğlu’s visit to Kirkuk has been the first visit paid by the administrative elite for the last 36 years. The aforesaid visit will be an important milestone in solving the Kirkuk gridlock in Iraq; and considering from Turkey’s point of view, it is important in terms of emphasizing the efficiency in Iraqi politics, in terms of the determination in solving the Kirkuk problem and in terms of underlining the vital role of Turkey in the regional equation. Even though it is observed that Turkey has adopted a balanced approach in the Iraqi politics, Ahmet Davutoğlu’s visit to Kirkuk and a “greeting” to Turkmens are believed to help the people, who feel themselves alone in the region, stand up again. The Turkmen, who could not play an efficient role in the Iraqi political process especially in the post-2003, started to rise in political life after the 2010 elections, and 10 deputies and 3 ministers were elected among Turkmens for the first time. Besides, the fact that the Turkmen deputies, invited to Turkey by President Abdullah Gül, decided to form a group from the Iraqi parliament is such as to greatly contribute to a more active participation of Turkmens in the forthcoming political process. Ahmet Davutoğlu’s visit to Kirkuk within the scope of his Iraq visit is believed to reinforce the efficiency of Turkmens. Thus the Turkmen presence, which has become more influential and powerful in Iraq, is considered to become more effective in the Iraqi politics.



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