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Turkmen Seek Greater Political Clout in KRG

Turkmen are demanding more political clout in the KRG, as the "second nation" in the Kurdistan Region.

"We, as Turkmen, demanded a greater national and election allocation from the prime minister and said we should not only possess the post of a minister," Muna Qahwachi, deputy head of the Turkmen Reform Party, told Rudaw after a meeting between Turkmen representatives and KRG Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani and Deputy Qubad Talabani.

Of eleven seats reserved for non-Kurdish minority communities of the Kurdistan Region, the Turkmen possess five. In addition, Minister of Justice Sinan Chalabi is a Turkmen.

"The government thanked the Turkmen component and promised that the Turkmen in the future must feel that they are the second nation in the Kurdistan Region," said Qahwachi, who is also an MP in the Kurdistan Region parliament.

According to a readout from Thursday's KRG Council of Ministers meeting, the ministers discussed the deep historic roots of the Turkmen in Kurdistan.

They also expressed appreciation to the Turkmen for being a genuine partner and a peaceful nation helping to develop the Region.

Qahwachi said the Turkmen also stressed the importance of improving the livelihoods of the people. She said they threw their support behind the KRG's reform plans on the condition "it does not damage ordinary people."

The KRG has enacted unpopular austerity measures, largely reducing salary payments, in an effort to combat an economic crisis the government blames on budget cuts from Baghdad and loss of oil revenues.

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