World Bulletin / News Desk
The northern Kirkuk province along with parts of the provinces of Nineveh, Saladin (northern Iraq) and Diyala (eastern Iraq) are disputed between Baghdad and the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG), and are inhabited by a mixture of ethnic Kurds, Arabs, and Turkmen.
Speaking to journalists at the parliament in capital Ankara Monday, Ozturk Yilmaz said Kirkuk “should not have a structure that depends either on regional Kurdish government or Baghdad".
"Kirkuk should have a special status," Yilmaz said, adding that Turkmens, Arabs and Kurds in the region should enjoy equal status.
"Iraqi constitution allows the structure of special status, it also allows special regions. A special regulation [for Kirkuk] should be made."
Earlier Monday, the Iraqi army launched an operation to capture military bases and oil fields in Kirkuk.
Yilmaz's remarks came amid tension between Baghdad and the Kurdish Regional Government after last month’s illegitimate Kurdish independence referendum.
The Sept. 25 referendum has faced strong opposition from most regional and international actors -- including the U.S., Turkey, and Iran -- who warned that the poll would distract from Iraq’s fight against terrorism and further destabilize the region.
Ozturk Yilmaz said the issues between Iraqi regional government and central government should be resolved through dialogue.
"The main parameter for the solution should be within the territorial integrity of Iraq.
"There is no magical formula beside it."