Iraqi Turkmen Front (ITC) President Erşet Salihi called on all groups to ‘include Turkmen in the governmental discussions’. Salihi spoke at a press conference organized in Kirkuk saying that Turkmen had been excluded from governmental discussions.
Salihi said the following: ”Governmental discussions are carried out between the Shiite, Sunni and Kurds. I am calling on the Shiite leaders. When you were in the opposition you said that you understood the injustices done to Turkmen better than anyone but now with task distribution you are saying that Turkmen are not united. The situation is completely opposite, Turkmen are united and all Turkmen parties are converged under the roof of the ITF.” Salihi called on Shiite leaders to say that “We want to see concrete execution not merely words and slogans. Are you with the Iraqi Turkmen or are you trying to divide them as sects?”.
Salihi underlined that the Shiite and Sunni parties were the strongest components in Iraq and said, “The Shiite and Sunni in Iraq have the lion’s share. We ask you to include Turkmen in governmental discussions.” Salihi emphasized that controversial areas starting with Kirkuk should not be instrumentalized in new governmental negotiations and said: ”My message to my Kurdish brothers is this: The problems regarding Kirkuk, Tuzhurmatu and controversial areas will not be resolved with an alliance between the parties looking to establish a government with you. The resolution will be established by talking to us. If you reach an understanding with Shiite and Sunni parties in this regard the problem will not be resolved. We have a project for this issue. We do not advocate the supremacy of anyone in this region.” Salihi pointed out that the Turkmen were an important element of Iraq and continued as follows: ”Those who view Iraqi Turkmen as a minority are those who want to divide the country into regions. If you divide us in terms of color and different elements the integrity of the country will be jeopardized. I reiterate my call to my Kurdish brothers. The only way to achieve results regarding the realization of your demands is dialogue rather than laying down conditions to Baghdad.” Political powers are continuing coalition discussions regarding the establishment of a new government following the general elections held in Iraq on the 12th of May.