Shafaq News / The Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) revealed on Friday that Kirkuk Governorate administration is utilizing "returning displaced persons" issue to carry out illegal Arabization procedure in the outskirts of the governorate.
A member of PUK, Hassan Muhammad Ahmad told Shafaq News that dozens of Arabs has returned to Kirkuk, those who seized Kurdish lands during the rule of the previous regime in the regions of the Daquq district.
He indicated that the current administration of the Governorate is “replacing the Arab and Kurdish who displaced in 2014 during the war against ISIS with other Arab residents who came from Saladin areas utilizing the initial plans and dues to return the displaced.”
Kirkuk, populated by Kurds, Arabs, Turkmen, Christians and other minorities, is one of 15 ethnically mixed areas in northern Iraq.
It is is one of the disputed areas between Erbil and Baghdad covered by Article 140 of the constitution, therefore, it was subjected to a joint authority between the Kurdistan Region and the federal government.
Kirkuk was meant to have a census under the 2005 constitution, drafted two years after former Iraqi leader Saddam was toppled in the U.S.-led invasion, but it did not take place because of the risk of ethnic and religious tensions.
During Saddam’s Anfal campaign waged against the Kurds in the 1980s, there was a forced “Arabization” of disputed areas, which ejected Kurds from the Governorate. Arabs from other parts of Iraq were then settled, taking over Kurdish homes and businesses.
Many Arabs have been ousted since Saddam was toppled in 2003, emboldening the Kurds to reclaim large parts of the disputed territories, including Kirkuk.
Displaced Kurds were provided with incentives to return, while Kurds from other areas were also moved in, angering other minorities.