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Kirkuk(kĭrko͞ok`), city (1987 pop. 418,624), NE Iraq. It is a center of Iraq's oil industry and is connected by pipelines to ports on the Mediterranean Sea. Kirkuk is a market for the region's produce, including cereals, olives, fruits, and cotton. There is a small textile industry. Kirkuk is built on a mound containing the remains of a settlement dating back to 3000 B.C. Kirkuk's population is mix of Turkmen (or Turkomans; ethnic Turks), Kurds, and Arabs as well as many minorities; forced resettlement of many Kurds in the late 20th cent. reduced their numbers in the city and prompted a Kurdish migration back into the city and the surrounding province after the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Kurdish forces controlled (2014–17) the city after the Iraqi army abandoned it in the face of a Sunni Islamist offensive, but Iraqi forces retook it after Kurds voted for independence.
a city in northeastern Iraq, in Kurdistan. Administrative center of the muhafaza (governorate) of Kirkuk. Population, 175,000 (1965). Railroad station and highway junction. Kirkuk is the center of a large oil-producing region. Oil pipelines lead from Kirkuk to the ports of Baniyas (in Syria) and Tripoli (in Lebanon). There is an oil refinery nearby. Sulfur is also produced.