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Ethnic Violence Intensifies Turkey's Iraq Debate

Turkey is concerned about the prospect of increasing instability in northern Iraq. To promote reconstruction in the region, Turkish officials recently agreed to provide Iraqis with surplus electricity. In addition, Ankara is considering the deployment of Turkish military units in northern Iraq in the capacity of peacekeepers.

Turkish concerns over the tenuous conditions in northern Iraq have risen in recent days, fueled in large measure by rioting between Kurds and Turkomans that left at least 12 people dead in an around the northern oil hub of Kirkuk. The confrontation was touched off by an August 22 explosion at a Turkoman holy site. Turkomans blamed Kurds for the explosion.

On August 27, Iraqi Turkoman leaders and representatives of one Kurdish group – the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) – signed a protocol that condemned the violence. It also pledged a joint effort to determine the cause of the rioting and to prosecute those deemed responsible for starting it. In addition, the two sides indicated they would strive to establish a mechanism to promote inter-ethnic harmony in northern Iraq.

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Mevlut Katik is a London-based journalist and analyst.

Ethnic Violence Intensifies Turkey's Iraq Debate

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