Iraqi Turkmen Front head Ershad Salihi urges 'US forces in Baghdad and Kirkuk to intervene'

The Turkmen community in northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk feel unsafe as reports emerge that members of the PKK terrorist organization were now freely roaming the streets, an Iraqi Turkmen politician told Anadolu Agency.

The 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.

Iraqi Turkmen Front head Ershad Salihi said: "Members of the terrorist organization PKK have started going around the streets [of Kirkuk]. That leaves the Turkmen, who already lack security of their lives, even more worried.

Ankara offers cooperation to Baghdad to end PKK in Iraq

Salihi urged the central Iraqi government to ensure that the PKK terror group gets ousted from Kirkuk.

"The greatest risk for Kirkuk is the PKK. They harm the social peace of the city with their actions. We want the U.S. forces in Baghdad and Kirkuk to intervene."

Baghdad-based National Security Council on Sunday accused the KRG of crossing a line by putting PKK terrorists in Kirkuk, calling the move “a declaration of war”.

Earlier Monday, the Iraqi army launched an operation to capture military bases and oil fields in Kirkuk.

The move comes after the Sept. 25 illegitimate referendum in northern Iraq that 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.