Tags: Turkey's indifference toward Turkmens, Turkmen refugees
Turkmens frustrated with being left to help themselves
Iraqi Shiite Turkmen families, fleeing the violence in the Iraqi city of Tal Afar, west of Mosul, rest at a temporary shelter after arriving in Kanaan, Diyala province. (Photo: Reuters)
Turkey’s “indifference” toward the plight of Turkmens in Iraq — who have been driven away from their homes by the terrorist “Islamic State” (IS) — and the United Nations’ “international community” growing alarmed only when other minority groups face death threats in the country fully reveals how alone the Turkmens are in the war-torn country.
When hundreds of thousands of Turkmens had to flee the Iraqi towns they lived in after the IS attack in June, Turkey took no step to protect Turkmens against the move. Ankara only air-dropped and sent trucks of humanitarian aid to those Turkmens seeking refuge in the mountainous and desert areas.
The United Nations and the international community, led by the US, England and France, made no mention of the plight of Turkmens either, nor did they take any step to further protect the Turkmens.
Suphi Saatçi, a Kirkuk-born scholar of Mimar Sinan University acknowledged that Turkmens without a passport are not allowed into Turkey and recently described their situation in Iraq, saying they have no one but God to help them.
With difficulty making any sense of the Turkish government’s indifference toward the Turkmens, he added: “They are living under the harsh sun, without shade, food or water and are left to die right under our noses. We are overwhelmed.”
Although Turkey enjoys excellent relations with the autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), Turkmens — the only major ethnic group in Iraq which does not have a security force of its own — were not allowed to enter the Kurdish area in northern Iraq to reach the Turkish border. Those Turkmens who managed with much difficulty to arrive at the Turkish border were only allowed in if they had a passport.
It has been about two months since the Turkmens first had to flee their towns due to the IS threat and massacres, but Turkey has only recently acted — in cooperation with the KRG, which doesn’t appear to have a particularly friendly attitude toward Turkmens — to establish a campsite to host Turkmens around the KRG area near the Turkish border. The campsite has yet to be established for the Turkmens, though.
In sharp contrast, when about two weeks ago the Yazidi ethnic group came under IS attack in Sinjar, a town near the Syrian border in northern Iraq, Turkey — like the “international community” — almost immediately acted to establish, also in collaboration with the KRG, a campsite in the Kurdish area for the Yazidis.
The US, which made no mention of Turkmens being killed, immediately sent troops to help remove some Yazidis, a non-Muslim minority, out of the danger zone. The UN made several statements about the life-and-death struggle Yazidis are facing due to the IS threat.
The number of Turkmens who managed to have entered Turkey cannot be very large, as there have been no such reports about them in the Turkish media. But the number of Yazidis currently being hosted in Turkey is around 1,700, as Deputy Prime Minister Beşir Atalay said in the past week. In media reports, it is implied that Yazidis are also required to have a passport to be allowed into the country, but it is however noteworthy that, given nearly 2,000 Yazidis were allowed to enter Turkey, they may have found it easier to obtain passports in Iraq than the Turkmens. It seems that Turkmens are being given the cold shoulder by Turkey, though their situation is just as dire as the Yazidis.
“Whatever Yazidis lived through, that’s what Turkmens have also lived through over the past [two months]. But nobody brought the issue up at the time,” Mahir Nakip, an Ankara-based Turkmen scholar from Kirkuk, has told Sunday’s Zaman. “It’s not only Turkey we reproach, but the whole world,” added Nakip, who teaches at Çankaya University.
Another example that reveals Turkey’s relative “indifference” toward the Turkmens is the country’s sensitivity toward the plight of Palestinians in Gaza under the Israeli attack.
Turkey recently sent, thanks to the ongoing cease-fire, a plane to Gaza to bring wounded Palestinians to Turkey for treatment. The number of Palestinians treated in hospitals in Turkey is reportedly over 20, while reportedly no Turkmens have been taken to Turkey so far since the IS attacks. Some Turkmens, including children, are known to have died over the past two months due to the hard living conditions in the mountainous and desert-like areas. Hundreds of Turkmen also died during the IS attacks against the towns they lived in.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s attitude toward the Turkmens seems to be a determining factor in Turkey’s “somewhat indifferent” stance regarding the ethnic group. The prime minister, who demonstrated that he has the mindset of a political Islamist, said during a presidential election rally last month that Palestine is a national issue for Turkey. But he has never uttered such a remark about Turkmens.
Turkmens in Iraq are deeply disappointed — though in general they are modestly expressing their disappointment — by the government’s insensitivity to their plight. “We hope Turkey will display from now on as much interest as needed toward the Turkmens,” Riyaz Sarıkahya, a Kirkuk-based leader of the Turkmeneli Party, told Sunday’s Zaman.
“Turkey has not backed us politically. This is what saddens us most,” he added.
The Turkish government has tried to explain its inability to help Turkmens in a more substantial way by noting that 49 Turkish citizens from Turkey’s Mosul consulate have been held hostage by the IS since June. But the opposition maintains that it was the government’s fault that those at the consulate were captured by the IS.
The terrorist organization captured the 49 people, which include Consul General Öztürk Yılmaz, some women, children and 30 security guards from Turkey’s special forces.
“Unfortunately, I do not think the government has displayed toward the Turkmens of Tal Afar the [same] sensitivity it displayed towards Gaza. I can’t make any sense of this,” Mehmet Tütüncü, chairman of the İstanbul-based Iraqi Turks Culture and Mutual Aid Society (ITKYD), told Sunday’s Zaman.
Hundreds of Turkmens have been killed by the terrorists of the Islamic State in Iraq during its ongoing bloody campaign in the civil war-torn country since the terrorist organization captured Mosul in the first half of June. The organization, the members of which declare themselves to be Muslim, ruthlessly kills anyone whose religious practices differ from their version of Sunni Islam, like Shiite Muslims.
In July, Turkey declared a three-day period of mourning for Palestinian victims killed in the Israeli offensive in the Gaza Strip. Erdoğan, who did not even use the word terrorist to describe the IS, lashed out at Israel for its attack against Gaza, noting that nearly 600 people, more than 100 of whom are children, were killed in the attacks at the time.
In sharp contrast, Erdoğan has barely mentioned the plight of the Turkmens, at least more than 300,000 of whom had to leave the cities and villages in which they lived in Iraq. Hundreds of Turkmens are estimated to have been killed by the IS.
Members of opposition parties also harshly criticized the government during a discussion in Parliament in July for its lack of sensitivity toward the Turkmen’s hardship. Sinan Oğan, a deputy from the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), lashed out at the government for not taking proper care of Turkmens in Iraq, noting that there are Turkmen children who have recently died of hunger. Oğan said: “Why is your government so hostile to [all that is connected with] Turks?”
Yusuf Halaçoğlu, deputy chairman of the MHP parliamentary group, in the same session of Parliament demanded: “You declare a three-day mourning period for Gaza, but why don’t you also declare a period of mourning for Turkmens?”
In a report that appeared in the Hürriyet Daily News in July, Eyat Suttu, a 35-year-old Turkmen of Tal Afar, said: “There is always someone to look after Kurds and Arabs in Iraq, but there is no one to look after the Turkmens.”
Tags: Eyzidi rescue
A U.S. mission to evacuate Iraqi civilians trapped on a mountain by Sunni militant fighters is “far less likely” after a U.S. assessment team sent there on Wednesday found the humanitarian situation not as grave as expected, the Pentagon said.
A team of U.S. military and humanitarian aid personnel sent to Mount Sinjar in northern Iraq to assess the situation of thousands of members of the Yazidi religious minority found far fewer people than previously feared and in better condition than expected, the Pentagon said in a statement.
“Based on this assessment,” the Pentagon said, “an evacuation mission is far less likely.”
The Pentagon credited the better-than-expected situation to airdrops of food and water, U.S. air strikes on Sunni militant targets, efforts of Kurdish peshmerga fighters and the ability of thousands of Yazidis to evacuate the mountain in recent nights.
The White House said earlier that the United States had not ruled out using American ground forces in an operation to extract the trapped civilians, but added the troops would not engage in combat.
The team of fewer than 20 U.S. personnel flew in darkness early in the morning to Mount Sinjar, where thousands of members of the Yazidi religious minority fled to escape an advance by Islamic State fighters, a U.S. official said. The team returned safely to the Kurdistan capital of Irbil by air.
The United States has 130 U.S. military personnel in Irbil, drawing up options ranging from creating a safe corridor to an airlift to rescue those besieged on Mount Sinjar.
“These 130 personnel are not going to be in a combat role in Iraq,” White House deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes told reporters traveling with President Barack Obama, who is on vacation on Martha’s Vineyard island in Massachusetts.
Rhodes noted that Obama had repeatedly ruled out “reintroducing U.S. forces into combat on the ground in Iraq.” But he added: “There are a variety of ways in which we can support the safe removal of those people from the mountain.”
Rhodes said the intention was to work with Kurdish forces already operating in the region and with the Iraqi military.
Kurdish fighters had been guarding Yazidi towns when armed Islamic State convoys swept in, and have already helped many thousands escape to safe areas to the north.
Obama has been deeply reluctant to revive any military role in Iraq after withdrawing the last combat troops in 2011 to end eight years of costly war that eroded the United States’ reputation around the world.
The president agreed last Thursday to send back more than 700 troops to help advise and guide Iraqi and Kurdish forces after a devastating sweep across northwestern Iraq by the Islamic State, who have declared a caliphate covering much of the country.
U.S. warplanes have since carried out a series of attacks on Islamic State forces, including on some approaching Irbil and on roadblocks and artillery around Mount Sinjar to the west.
Army Colonel Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman, said on Wednesday that the air attacks, combined with operations by Kurdistan’s peshmerga armed forces, had “slowed, if not stopped” attacks on the terrified families who had fled to the mountain.
U.S. and British military forces have been dropping supplies of food and water to those on Mount Sinjar in the last week and Rhodes said other countries were also offering to help, including Australia, Canada and France.
U.N. agencies have rushed emergency supplies to the Dohuk region by the Syrian and Turkish borders, where the office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees says about 400,000 refugees have fled, including Yazidis, Christians and other minorities.
Al Jazerera and Reuters
If the U.S. and the E.U. are sending weapons to the Kurds they should also arm the Turkmens in Iraq. The Turkmens, Iraq’s third main ethnic community, have no armed militias, they continue to be easy targets.
When ISIS attacked Turkmen cities and villages, neither the Iraqi army nor the Kurdish peshmerga protected them.
The Iraqi army abandoned its positions before the arrival of ISIS mercenaries and the Kurdish peshmerga who were positioned around Turkmen inhabited towns and villages did nothing to protect the inhabitants. Kurds who are now controlling and occupying the so-called contested territories do not protect non-Kurds.
Tags: Kirkuk attack on Shiite mosque
Car bomb attack on internally displaced Turkmens in Iraq’s Kirkuk kills 6 and injures 37
Tags: Ethnic cleansing of Turkmens in Iraq
Qu’a fait Obama pour protéger et défendre les 350.000 Turkmènes qui ont dû fuir leurs villes et villages sous les attaques d’EI?
Qu’a t-il fait pour secourir les hommes, femmes et enfants turkmènes qui manquaient d’eau, de nourriture, de lait pour bébés, de tentes, de médicaments?
Obama et les leaders européens sont restés TOTALEMENT indifférents lorsque de nombreux enfants turkmènes sont morts de soif et de faim sur les routes (50°C!!!).
Leur compassion est sélective, la vie des Turkmènes n’a-t-elle aucune valeur à leurs yeux????
Pourquoi cette indifférence et ce silence concernant l’épuration ethnique des Turkmènes???
Tags: UNPO Alternative report, UNPO/ITF
Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization
in cooperation with
Iraqi Turkmen Front
- INTRODUCTION TO THE REPORT
This alternative report is submitted by the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples
Organization (UNPO) in collaboration with the Iraqi Turkmen Front on the occasion of
the 85th session of the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial
Discrimination (hereinafter the Committee) during which the 15th to 21st periodic report
of the Republic of Iraq will be considered.
This alternative report has been structured to comment upon the articles of the
International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination
(hereinafter ICERD) thematically. It will be followed by recommendations to be made to
the Iraqi delegation at the 85th session in the final chapter of the report.
This alternative report will focus on the situation of Assyrians, Turkmen and Kurds in
Iraq and the government’s compliance to and implementation of the provisions in the
ICERD as it affects these particular groups. The major issues highlighted in this report
include discriminatory laws on religious freedom, targeted killings based on ethnicity
and religion, political underrepresentation, displacement and lack of adequate
The Hague, July 2014
UNPO Alternative Report to CERD Highlights Discrimination Endured by Minority and Indigenous Groups in IraqJuly 29, 2014 at 6:39 am | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment
Tags: UNPO Report Discrimination Iraq
UNPO Alternative Report to CERD Highlights Discrimination Endured by Minority and Indigenous Groups in Iraq
UNPO, in cooperation with the Iraqi Turkmen Front, submitted an alternative report to the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) drawing attention to the systemic racial discrimination and human rights violations endured by minority groups in Iraq.
UNPO submitted an alternative report to the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) ahead of its 85th session during which the 15th to 21st periodic reports of the Republic of Iraq will be considered.
The report focused on the racial discrimination and human violations against the Assyrians, Turkmen and Kurds in Iraq, through a thematic examination of the articles of the International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD) and the Iraqi government’s compliance and implementation of them. The Assyrians, Turkmen and Kurds are all indigenous people of northern Iraq and yet continue to face discrimination, harassment, intimidation, kidnappings and killings as a result of their ethnicity and religion. The major issues highlighted in this report include discriminatory laws on religious freedom, targeted killings based on ethnicity and religion, political underrepresentation, displacement and lack of adequate education.
After examining the situation in Iraq and the progress made by the Iraqi government in implementing the International Convention on the Elimination on All Forms of Discrimination (ICERD), this report concludes with the following recommendations to ease the suffering and discrimination suffered by the Assyrians, Turkmen and Kurds in Iraq:
Article 1.1 – Definition of Racial Discrimination
1. Comprehensive minority laws, anti-discrimination laws and implementation legislation should be passed.
2. The principles of Sharia should be defined in the Iraqi Constitution.
Article 2.1 – Elimination of Racial Discrimination
3. The Iraqi Central Government and the Kurdish Regional Government should investigate systematic abuses and discrimination more diligently for the purpose of ending impunity.
4. Possibilities of autonomy in accordance with the Iraqi Constitution, for the Assyrians and Turkmen should be examined by the Iraqi Central Government and the Kurdish Regional Government.
Article 5(b) – The Right to Security of Person
5. The Iraqi Central Government and the Kurdish Regional Government should urgently address the sectarian violence plaguing the state and provide aid to the internally displaced.
Article 5(c) – Political Rights
6. The quota for the Assyrians and Turkmen that is limiting their political representation should be lifted.
- See more at: http://www.unpo.org/article/17372#sthash.nhAkGjty.dpuf
Tags: Internally displaced Iraqis, IOM release, OCHA release
Photo of internally displaced Turkmens: Can Hasasu
OCHA and IOM Release Worrisome News About Minorities In Iraq
Since the outbreak of the Iraqi crisis, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has produced several situation reports on the increasingly severe internal displacement in the country. The latest report was published on 18 July 2014, and developed in cooperation with humanitarian partners. Moreover, the International Organization for Migration has been updating a so called ‘Displacement Tracking Matrix’ to share baseline information on displaced populations and their conditions in Iraq. Both reports highlight the serious and life-threatening conditions that are faced by civilians, including vulnerable groups, in Iraq under the attacks of the terrorist group the Islamic State (IS).
The armed conflict started in Anbar governorate of Iraq in January 2014, and the recent attacks by the Islamic State (IS) which started with the seizure of Mosul have carried the threat faced by the civilian population to a more serious level and the large-scale killings, injuries, and destruction and damage of livelihoods and property have been deteriorating since. The violence quickly spread to other areas and resulted in a dangerous instability in Northern Iraq. The consequences of the attacks and the current situation have been observed and reported by different organizations mandated to ensure the protection and respond to the basic humanitarian needs of civilians affected and displaced by the conflict.
The IOM Displacement Tracking Matrix has released some striking figures emphasising the deteriorating situation for minority groups in Iraq. Focus has been on vulnerable groups such as minority groups, women, children, people with disabilities and elderly in order to provide information for organizing a systematic help and support mechanism to the area in the Matrix.
Fleeing persecution and violence from the Islamic State (IS), in June and July alone 408,294 people have been forced to flee their homes. Nineveh and Saladin Provinces, which are the ancestral home of many of Iraq’s minority groups, have been particularly affected by the ongoing crisis. In fact, 89% of the total number of migrants and displaced persons in June and July used to reside in Nineveh and Saladin. As a result, many minority groups in Iraq have suffered disproportionately. Among those particularly suffering from this crisis are the Assyrians and Iraqi Turkmen. Tens of thousands of Iraqi Turkmen have been forced to flee their homes in the Telafar and Sinjar districts of Nineveh since the IS brought the conflict to Mosul in early June. It is reported that Shiite Turkmen are fleeing to Shiite majority areas of Iraq, while Sunni Turkmen are returning home, risking the fragmentation of the Iraqi Turkmen.
The report also evidences the many hardships that are faced by the growing number of displaced people in northern Iraq. Concentrated mostly in Nineveh, Erbil and Sulaymaniyah districts, 10,422 families are currently reported as living in vulnerable shelters, such as camps or abandoned buildings. A majority of displaced people have found temporary shelter staying with relatives (31%), while others have been hosted by churches and mosques. The report states that the internally displaced people have prioritized non-food items as their most urgent need (82% of those surveyed), followed by food items (55%), health and child care (21%) and shelter (16%). Over 24,000 families are not able to access enough food and water. Those living in camps are the most vulnerable, with inadequate shelter, insufficient amounts of food and water and little to no access to healthcare and sanitation. Only 8% of 68,049 displaced families are reported to have received any sort of assistance.
Iraq IDP Crisis Situation Report No. 3, published by OCHA on 18 July 2014 underlines the challenges threatening the IDPs who are still on the move across Iraq. As of 14 July, humanitarian actors had provided food to more than 153,470 people; clean water to some 235,000; non-food items (NFI) to over 74,000 and hygiene kits to 37,000 individuals. Medical supplies, medicines and mobile clinics reached 316,500 people and some 1,250 women received dignity kits. The disruption of the public distribution system is threatening food security for many. Yet still there are almost 60,000 IDPs in need of shelter and non-food items. Acute water shortages are reported across northern Iraq as impacting both IDPs and host families.
OCHA reports the number of IDP locations in Iraq as 1,231. Thousands of IDPs are observed as heading to Najaf, Karbala and other southern areas, yet the ability to transit to these areas still remains a challenge. Rapid response to people on the move, particularly those delayed at checkpoints, remains a critical gap. OCHA underlines the need for a timely information sharing mechanism to allow the humanitarian community to reach beneficiaries in a complex and rapidly evolving security situation.
To read the IOM Displacement Tracking Matrix [16 July 2014], please click here .
To read OCHA Iraq IDP Crisis Situation Report [18 July 2014], please click here .
Photo of internally displaced Turkmens: Can Hasasu
– See more at: http://www.unpo.org/article/17366#sthash.coQxpCT3.dpuf