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After the fall of Saddam Hussein government the Turkmen, Arabs, and Chaldo Assyrians had high expectations of the interim administration established after 9th April 2003.
The Turkmen expected to see democracy, fairness, an end to discrimination, the right to self-determination and an end to violence. Unfortunately, the opposite has occurred regarding the human rights situation in Iraq, in particular concerning the Iraqi Turkmen. After the toppling of Saddam Hussein in 2003, hundreds of Kurdish militia poured into the Turkmen city of Kirkuk.
The Kurdish militia ransacked the municipality buildings in Kirkuk, government offices and military buildings.
The land deeds belonging to the Turkmen were deliberately taken from the Registry Office making it difficult for the Turkmen to establish themselves as original inhabitants of the province.
Large hotels, hospitals and a historical military barracks in the city (at that time used as a museum), which was built in the Ottoman era, along with Turkman shops and houses, including the land registry office were set alight by the Kurdish militia.
The invasion of Kirkuk in 2003 by the Kurdish militia was a mirror image of the events from 1991 during the uprising against Saddam Hussein after Operation Desert Storm.
Thousands of internally displaced Kurds and Turkmen returned to Kirkuk and other Arabised regions to reclaim their homes and lands that had been occupied by Arabs from central and southern Iraq. These returnees had been were forcibly expelled from their homes by the government of Saddam Hussein during the 1980s and 1990s.
The majority of the returning Kurds were not originally from Kirkuk but were brought to Kirkuk with the help of the two Kurdish parties and they were housed in the vacant Turkmen and Arab houses.
The reasoning behind this was that they wanted to change the demography of the city and win the referendum that was planned to be carried out by 31 December 2007 to determine whether Kirkuk could formally join the Kurdish administered region, an outcome that Arabs and Turkmen in Kirkuk staunchly opposed.