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Turkmenistan: Ethnic Turkmen In Iraq Urge Extended Security Zone

Ankara, 4 September 1996 (RFE/RL) -- Ethnic Turkmen -- northern Iraq's second-largest ethnic group -- are proposing that an internationally enforced security zone be extended and that what they call a "neutral" administration be established in Arbil.

Ethnic Turkmen of northern Iraq live mainly in Arbil and an estimated three million ethnic Turkmen live throughout Iraq, reports RFE/RL's Turkmenistan Service.

Ismet Kocak, a representative of ethnic Turkmen in northern Iraq, yesterday told a Turkish newspaper that a disarmament plan for Arbil and a neutral administration should be set up. Rival Kurdish groups have sought to control Arbil, and this rivalry was cited by Baghdad as the reason for its offensive in the area.

Kocak says ethnic Turkmen are neutral. He also endorsed the U.S. decision to extend a security zone in sorthern Iraq.