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Iraq | International

Recount Iraq poll says Turkey
by ALJ
Sunday Feb 13th, 2005 2:55 PM
Turkey has urged Iraqi electoral officials and the UN to examine what it claims are skewed Iraqi elections results.
Turkish officials said on Sunday that they were particularly concerned about vote tallies in the oil-rich and ethnically mixed city of Kirkuk.

Turkey has long complained that Kurdish groups were illegally moving Kurds into Kirkuk, a strategic northern city, in an effort to tip the city's population balance in their favour.

Officials did not make direct reference to the Kurds on Sunday, but the Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a statement that voter turnout in some regions was low and charged that there were "imbalanced results" in several regions, including Kirkuk.

"It has emerged that certain elements have tried to influence the voting and have made unfair gains from this," the statement said, in an apparent reference to the Kurds.

Turkish fears

"As a result the Iraqi Interim Parliament won't reflect the true proportions of Iraqi society," the statement said. "The flaws ... lead to serious hesitations as to whether the goal of an interim parliament can be achieved."

Ankara fears that Kurdish domination of Kirkuk and oil fields near the city would make a Kurdish state in northern Iraq viable. Such a state, Turkish officials warn, could further inspire Turkey's own rebellious Kurds, who have been battling the Turkish army in south-eastern Turkey since 1984.

Hushyar Zibari, a Kurd who is Iraq's interim foreign minister, said on Sunday that Turkey had no cause for concern over strong Kurdish showing in Iraq's elections.

"Definitely all their fears are misplaced," he told journalists. "Iraq will remain united. This Kurdish participation in this Iraqi election and in the regional election is reaffirmation of their commitment to a national unity of the country."

'Not a conspiracy'

He said the Kurds were seeking a democratic and pluralistic within a federal and united Iraq.

"There is no conspiracy here," he said. "Turkey should have no fears whatsoever about the future of Iraq remaining a friendly country to them, united but respecting the diversity of Iraqi society."

The Turkish statement called on the election board to seriously consider objections to the vote and urged the UN to take a "more active role" and ensure that "the flaws, the disorder and irregularities" of the poll were not repeated when Iraqis vote on a new constitution later this year.

Iraq's Shia Muslims won nearly half the votes in the nation's 30 January election, giving the community significant power but not enough parliamentary seats to form a government on its own.

Two key Kurdish parties gained just over a quarter of votes cast, giving them considerable support in the national assembly to preserve Kurdish autonomy in northern Iraq.
Agencies

http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/F6BEA03E-3EBE-46BE-BB23-5C8AFA680F6D.htm
by more
Sunday Feb 13th, 2005 3:14 PM
Turkey was openly critical of the elections and their results, saying the process failed to ensure the fair representation of all ethnic groups in the conflict-ridden country and called for compensation measures.

"The low turnout of some groups in the elections, the fact that almost no votes were cast in a number of provinces and the fact that manipulations in certain regions, including Kirkuk, led to unbalanced results are issues that need to be considered seriously," the foreign ministry said in a statement.

It added these led to an unfair representation of different ethnic and religious groups in the Iraqi parliament, which will draw up the country's constitution.

"It is seen as absolutely essential for the safety of the political process in Iraq to compensate for the unbalanced representation in the country's administration," the statement added.

Iraq's northern neighbour is particularly irked by the strong gains of the two main Kurdish parties in the north of country, which came in second in the elections after the main Shiite alliance with 25.7 per cent of the vote.

The Kurds also won an absolute majority in local polls in the oil-rich city Kirkuk, which many want to see as the capital of a future independent Kurdish state.

Turkey fears that independence-minded Kurdish moves in northern Iraq will embolden separatism across the border in south-eastern Turkey, where a Kurdish rebellion has already claimed some 37,000 lives.

http://www.thecouriermail.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5936,12240538%255E1702,00.html