Iraqi parliament forms commission to resolve ‘Kurdish flag crisis’ in Kirkuk

A session in the Iraqi Parliament.

The Iraqi parliament has formed a commission to resolve tensions arising from the hoisting of the Kurdistan Region flag in government buildings in northern city Kirkuk.

Kurdish officials participated in the session presided over by parliament president Salim al-Jabouri. The commission is expected to prepare a report within 10 days and present it to parliament.

The decision to raise the Kurdistan Region flag was taken at a Kirkuk Province Council meeting on 28 March. However Baghdad has rejected the move saying it is unconstitutional.

The hoisting of the flag has also been met with resistance in the city, with the Turkmen and Arab population opposing the initiative.

Half of Kirkuk’s population is made up of Turkmen and Arabs with the other half formed of Kurds. The city, despite being largely administered by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), is a “disputed area” between Baghdad and Kurdish authorities.

Kurdish parties have said they are adamant about going to an independence referendum in 2017. Turkish, Iraqi and Iranianofficials have warned against the move saying it would lead to instability.