Turkmen seek representation in Iraq’s next government

By Haydar Karaalp

BAGHDAD (AA) – Turkmen are hoping for greater representation in Iraq’s incoming government, which is now in the process of being drawn up by Prime Minister-designate Adil Abdul-Mahdi.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Arshad Salihi, leader of the Iraqi Turkmen Front (ITF), said that Abdul-Mahdi had recently visited the ITF’s Baghdad office, where he had discussed the incoming government with Turkmen representatives.

Describing the acting PM’s visit as “historic”, Salihi said: “Turkmen want more than just one ministerial portfolio in Abdul-Mahdi’s incoming government.”

Turkmen, he added, were also seeking the post of presidential aide — along with that of deputy prime minister — with a view to “ensuring the rights of Iraq’s Turkmen community”.

The Baghdad meeting also reportedly tackled Iraq’s precarious security and economic situation.

Salihi also described a Thursday meeting in Baghdad with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu as “significant”, saying the two men had discussed chronic water shortages currently plaguing southern Iraq.

Following the 2003 U.S.-led invasion and occupation of Iraq, the Coalition Provisional Authority (Iraq’s U.S.-run post-invasion interim government) instituted a political system based on sectarian “quotas”.

Ostensibly aimed at fairly distributing top political posts among Iraq’s main ethno-religious segments, the system reserves the presidency for a Kurd, the premiership for a Shia Muslim, and the post of parliamentary speaker for a Sunni Muslim.