With Iraqi Kurdistan voting for secession, the fate of the Kirkuk Province is very much in doubt. It’s not legally part of the Kurdistan territory, but historically has had a large Kurdish population, and was “annexed” by Iraqi Kurdistan after it was taken early in the ISIS war.
The oil-rich province could be a major bone of contention, with Iraq’s parliament urging Prime Minister Hayder Abadi to send in troops and physically reconquer the province from the Kurds.
They might have help. Kirkuk Province has an ethnic Turkmen minority, and that has Turkey’s nationalist MHP Party leader Devlet Bahceli vowing that the Kurds will never rule over Kirkuk.
Bahceli says that he has at least 5,000 nationalist volunteers in Turkey ready to march into Iraq and chase the Kurds out of Kirkuk. He added the Turkmen of Kirkuk would never be abandoned to the “genocide” of Kurdish rule.
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