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Political impase amid US troop withdrawal heightens Ankara's worries about Iraq's future

Political impase amid US troop withdrawal heightens Ankara's worries about Iraq's future

Iraq's continued inability to form a government nearly six months after general elections even as the US withdrew all of its combat troops from the fragile country has heightened Turkey's concerns about Iraq's future. Wanting Iraq to become a respected member of the international community, with its political unity and territorial integrity intact, Turkey is doing all it can to make this happen. While maintaining dialogue with all Iraqi groups, Ankara is urging them to forge a national consensus government post haste. Since March's general elections, there has been no progress in forming a government in Iraq, which is still plagued by violence and instability. Because no political party got enough electoral support to form a government alone, a coalition government is needed in Iraq, where delicate ethnic and sectarian balances are at play. An October census is also expected to play a key role in determining the status of the northern city of Kirkuk. Turkmens and Arabs living in Kirkuk oppose the census, claiming that the city's demographic structure has been distorted by the regional Kurdish administration in order to dominate the city and its rich oil reserves. Ankara believes Kirkuk should be given a special status, arguing that instability there would mean instability all over the country. The US last week withdrew its last combat troops from Iraq, leaving combat operations to Iraqi forces, but keeping 50,000 thousand troops stationed for non-combat purposes such as training security forces.

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