ERBIL — Iraqi authorities removed a statue of late Kurdish leader Jalal Talabani from Kirkuk just hours after its installation on Thursday. The move has now caused an outrage among the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK).
A PUK official confirmed to BasNews that the monument was removed only two hours after some Kurdish supporters of the party had installed that on the Kirkuk citadel. He also stated that Iraqi counter-terror forces were sent to uninstall the statue.
Previous reports said the spokesperson of the police in Kirkuk Province, Colonel Kamal Ways was arrested by the Iraqi forces for attending a ceremony of erecting the statue.
Jalal Talabani was the secretary general of the PUK who also served as Iraq’s president between 2006 and 2014. He died on 3rd October 2017 at the age of 83.
Mulla Bakhtiyar, a leading member of the PUK, criticised the Iraqi authorities’s move in Kirkuk. He said the situation in the city, which is now under the security control of Baghdad forces, remains dire with systematic killings and kidnaps of civilians.
The PUK branch office in Kirkuk, seemingly in hopes of avoiding tensions with Baghdad, said in a statement later that the monument will be installed somewhere else in the city.
It argued that the Kirkuk citadel is a historic site and the statue could not be placed there.