NEWS

Turkey asks US for order after clashes

ANKARA (Combined reports) – The United States should do its utmost to secure order in northern Iraq in the aftermath of violent fighting between the Kurdish and Turkmen communities, Turkey’s Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul said yesterday. «We are in constant contact with the United States, which provides authority in Iraq… We have reminded them (US officials) that they need to do their best to establish peace there,» Gul told reporters at a meeting with representatives of the Turkmen community. «It is not possible for us to accept the recent treatment of the Turkmens,» he added. On Friday, five Turkmen and three Kurds were killed in clashes in the northern Iraqi town of Tuz Khurmatu. The unrest erupted after the dome of a Turkmen Shiite mosque was destroyed by a suspected bomb. Another two Turkmen were also killed by US soldiers there. The incident sparked violent protests in the oil-rich city of Kirkuk, located some 60 kilometers (35 miles) away, in which another three Turkmen died. The tension in Tuz Khurmatu was defused after Turkmen and Kurdish leaders agreed to a ceasefire and a number of measures to hold the fragile truce in place. Ahmet Muratli, the representative of the Iraqi Turkmen Front (ITC) in Turkey, also blamed the incident on the United States. «The United States pledged to bring peace and democracy to Iraq… (But) we see that the Turkmens have been ignored and that peace has not been established in Iraq,» Muratli told reporters. Muratli, speaking after talks with Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul, said Turkey had a vital role to play in Iraq. «We regard the dispatch of Turkish troops to Iraq as appropriate. This is the only way peace and order can be ensured in Iraq,» he said. Gul, meanwhile, called for vigilance to prevent a repeat of the fighting. «According to the information we received, the incidents have died down, but everyone needs to be careful,» he added. (AFP, Reuters)