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Turkey concerned with city of Kirkuk

BAGHDAD, Aug. 2 (UPI) -- The Turkish government has expressed concern regarding the Iraqi city of Kirkuk, where ethnic Turks are locked in a territory dispute, an Iraqi official says.

An unidentified Iraqi Foreign Ministry spokesman said Foreign Minster Hoshyar Zebari had been contacted by Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan regarding the situation in the city, the Kuwait News Agency KUNA reported Saturday.

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Kirkuk has been the center of a growing dispute regarding who controls the city and whether it should become a separate region.

The province of Kirkuk has demanded the city become part of the Iraqi Kurdistan region, while Turkey has steadfastly opposed such a movement.

While the city holds the largest concentration of ethnic Turks in Iraq, the spokesman said Zebari has maintained that any attempts to solve the dispute will be conducted solely by Iraq.

Zebari said any outside attempts to become involved in the dispute would not be welcomed by Iraq, the spokesman told KUNA.

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