Dr. Hassan Aydinli, Iraqi Turkmen Front EU Representative and Mr. Niyazi Mimar Oğlu, Turkmen Member of the Iraqi Parliament were invited as guest speakers at the European Parliament

July 1, 2015 at 6:28 pm | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment
Dr. Hassan Aydinli, Iraqi Turkmen Front EU Representative and Mr. Niyazi Mimar Oğlu, Turkmen Member of the Iraqi Parliament were invited as guest speakers at the Delegation for Relations with Iraq Meeting at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France on 10th June 2015.


Niyazi MIMAR OĞLU, Turkmen Member of the Iraqi Parliament.
Dr.Hassan Aydinli, ITF EU Representative
in Front of the EU Parliament in Strasbourg, France.
 
From left to right: Brian HAYES, Vice-Chairman Delegation for relations with Iraq
David CAMPBELL BANNERMAN, Chairman of Delegation for relations with Iraq
Niyazi MIMAR OĞLU, Turkmen Member of the Iraqi Parliament
Dr. Hassan AYDINLI, Iraqi Turkmen Front EU representative
From left to right: Brian HAYES, Vice-Chairman Delegation for relations with Iraq
David CAMPBELL BANNERMAN, Chairman of Delegation for relations with Iraq
Niyazi MIMAR OĞLU, Turkmen Member of the Iraqi Parliament
Dr. Hassan AYDINLI, Iraqi Turkmen Front EU representative
Brian HAYES, Vice-Chairman of the Delegation for relations with Iraq
Dr.Hassan AYDINLI, Iraqi Turkmen Front EU representative
Niyazi MIMAR OĞLU, Turkmen Member of the Iraqi Parliament
From left to right: Branislav Skripek MEP.
Dr.Hassan Aydinli, ITF EU Representative.
David Campbell Bannerman, Chairman of the Delegation for relations with Iraq.
Niyazi MIMAR OĞLU, Turkmen Member of the Iraqi Parliament.
Javier Couso Permuy, Vice-Chairman of the Delegation for relations with Iraq
Afzal Khan, Member of the European Parliament
Dr. Hassan Aydinli, ITF EU Representative speaking to
Gérard Duprez, Member of the European Parliament
Javier Couso Permuy, Vice-Chairman of the Delegation for relations with Iraq
David Campbell Bannerman, Chairman of the Delegation for relations with Iraq.
Niyazi MIMAR OĞLU, Turkmen Member of the Iraqi Parliament.
Dr.Hassan Aydinli, ITF EU Representative
Rok KOZELJ, EU Parliament Directorate General External Policies
Brian HAYES, Vice-Chairman of the Delegation for relations with Iraq
David Campbell Bannerman, Chairman of the Delegation for relations with Iraq.
Niyazi MIMAR OĞLU, Turkmen Member of the Iraqi Parliament.
Dr.Hassan Aydinli, ITF EU Representative
Several MEPs attending the conference put questions to
the guest speakers
from left to right MEPs Bas Belder, Branislav Skripek, Afzal Khan.
Many Members of the EU Parliament and representatives of EEAS
attended the conference
Michel Reimon, Ana Gomes, Gérard Deprez, J. Bergeron,
Branislave Skripek, Bas Belder, Afzal Khan and others.
Branislav Skripek, Member of the European Parliament
Dr. Hassan Aydinli, Iraqi Turkmen Front EU representative
Dr. Hassan Aydinli, Iraqi Turkmen Front EU representative
Afzal Khan, MEP
Afzal Khan, MEP, Dr. Hassan Aydinli ITF EU representative
Niyazi MIMAR OĞLU, Turkmen Member of the Iraqi Parliament.


Niyazi MIMAR OĞLU, Turkmen Member of the Iraqi Parliament
Dr.Hassan Aydinli, ITF EU Representative
in Front of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, France.


Niyazi MIMAR OĞLU, Turkmen Member of the Iraqi Parliament.
Dr.Hassan Aydinli, ITF EU Representative
in Front of the EU Parliament in Strasbourg, France.

Iraq’s Shia Turkmen militia counterattack in Bashir

June 13, 2015 at 9:21 am | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment
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Pissed Off Turkmen Want Their Town Back

Iraq’s Shia Turkmen militia counterattack in Bashir

by MATT CETTI-ROBERTS

An Iraqi Turkmen militiaman stands on a black Ford F250 Super Duty and stares off into the distance. Above there’s the hazy midday sun. In front of him, there’s the front line in the war with Islamic State.

Three Islamic State fighters approach the front line — a sandy berm stretching into the distance on either side of the miltiaman’s position. IS is notorious for using teams of suicide bombers, so the Turkmen fighter cannotallow them to get close.

Reaching toward the truck’s mounted KPV 14.5-millimeter heavy machine gun, he racks back the cocking handle, swivels the weapon toward no-man’s land and fires three short bursts.

The militants scatter back the way they came.

It’s early April and beyond the earthen berm, less than a mile away, is the Islamic State-held town of Bashir. The town sits around 10 miles southwest of Kirkuk.

The fighters occupying the front line here are mainly Shia Turkmen from the local area working as part of Iraq’s predominantly Popular Mobilization Forces — also known as the Hashd Shaabi.

In a few days, they will carry out another attack to retake the town.

At top — a Shia Turkmen fighter of the Martyr Sadr Force stands on the roof of his unit’s base near Kirkuk. Above — a Badr Organisation position at the front line outside Bashir. Matt Cetti-Roberts photos

The Turkmen are one of Iraq’s largest minority groups, descended from various waves of migration dating back to the 7th century. Although they inhabit areas across central Iraq, many lived in villages to the south of Kirkuk before Islamic State came.

Bashir is widely considered the heart of the Iraqi Turkmen community. They once constituted 40 percent of its population.

But in 2014, Islamic State swept through Iraq. In June, Bashir fell. Iraqi army troops based at the nearby K-1 Airbase fled, and left their weapons and vehicles behind. The Kurdish Peshmerga rushed in to fill the security vacuum in and around oil-rich Kirkuk.
One of the Iraqi army troops who fled is now back. Maj. Abdul Hussein Abass sits behind a desk inside a base for the Hash Shaabi’s Martyr Sadr Force.

Shia religious flags fly from the roofs of the base’s buildings. “When ISIS took Bashir, 23 people were killed, including women and children,” Abdul says — while surrounded by Turkmen Shia fighters.

“I am from Bashir originally,” Abdul, who is Turkman Shia himself, says. “It’s my neighborhood, so I joined the fight. I am a military man.”

“We are here to protect our land, especially Turkman Shia, [but] we don’t have racism,” Abdul says. “We are all here. There aren’t many of us so we have to work together. Ten Sunni guys joined, we never say no.”

The badge-adorned load carrying vest of a Turkmen Martyr Sadr Force fighter. Matt Cetti-Roberts photo

Abdul says that improvised explosive devices — or IEDs — are a major obstacle to retaking the town.

“When we say we will take Bashir, the fighters move and don’t think there are bombs,” Abdul says. “They are all thinking of the fatwa, it is inside their brain pushing them to this kind of work.”

After his unit evaporated during the Islamic State advance last year, he moved to the Kurdish capital of Erbil and registered to join Unit 16 — the Turkmen Hashd Shaabi formation that covers the area from Tuz Khumartu to Kirkuk.

From there, he helped liberate the besieged Turkmen town of Amerli in September 2014.

A Shia Turkmen fighter of the Martyr Sadr Force stands beneath a portrait of Muhammad Baqir Al Sadr, a Shia cleric executed in 1980 by the Ba’athists, at the unit’s base near Kirkuk. Matt Cetti-Roberts photo

On June 29, 2014, Abdul took part in the first attack on Bashir, where 26 Turkmen died. He tells us that the fighters were not organized properly — unlike now under the Hashd Shaabi.

But this isn’t the first time Bashir’s residents were forced from their homes.

In 1986, Saddam Hussein’s Arabization policy displaced the town’s Turkmen. The plan was to bring in loyal Sunni tribes to areas where minority groups who opposed the regime flourished.

“I remember I was in the sixth grade, I didn’t pass that year of school,” Abdul recalls. “They [the Iraqi army] said the sewage pipes didn’t work so we couldn’t stay in Bashir — then they gave it to to the Sunni Arabs.”

When American forces invaded in 2003, the Turkmen returned from exile to reclaim their homes. Fighting between returning Turkmen and Sunni Arabs eventually saw Saddam’s emigres forcibly ejected.

Many Sunnis remained in the outlying villages and some joined Islamic State. “Whoever was working with ISIS of course can’t come back home [and] has to go to prison, we have names and intelligence of these people,” Abdul adds.

“We are from this land and trying to protect this land. We are trying to defend Bashir, because it is our land, our property,” he says, explaining why only the Shia Turkmen are trying to liberate the town.

He also doesn’t see Unit 16 having a role in any future liberation of Mosul — a majority Sunni city. He believes former residents of the city should be involved in the operation instead.

A militia flag. Matt Cetti-Roberts

Reprisals

Colorful flags of Iraq’s powerful Shia forces flutter along the front line. On the walls of the Martyr Sadr Force’s base are pictures of Muhammad Baqir Al Sadr, a Shia cleric executed in 1980 by Saddam’s Ba’athist regime.

But the Shia militias’ sectarian nature has provoked fears of retribution attacks against Sunnis. Iraq’s mainly Shia Popular Mobilization Forces were brought together by a fatwa — a religious call to arms — by Grand Ayatollah Ali Al Sistani.

In 2014, Iraq’s then-Prime Minister Nouri Al Maliki authorized the miitias’ deployment and gave them official backing. The militias have since been at the forefront of victories over Islamic State, beating them back in Diyala province and parts of Salahaddin.
But human rights groups have accused Shia fighters of carrying out sectarian attacks against Sunnis — looting homes, setting property on fire and carrying out executions.

There’s even been recurring friction between the Hashd Shaabi and the Peshmerga, such as Tuz Kharmato. Recent reports emerged that the Peshmerga told 80 members of the Saraya Tali’a Al Khurasani militia to leave Jalawla. In January 2015, the Shiatold the Peshmerga to leave.

Abdul denies any problems with his unit. “The media says that Hashd Shaabi murders and loots,” he says. “We took Jedadyah [a village close to Bashir] back and didn’t take anything, but ISIS took everything from there.”

Although his group didn’t loot the town, he says, another unit he won’t name tried, and he sent them away. “I won’t let you take anything from that village, go to get permission from the governor,” he claims he told them.

Two Turkmen fighters of the Badr Organisation ride a motorbike along the front line near Bashir. Matt Cetti-Roberts photo

Shaker Hassan Ali, a Turkman spokesperson for the Hashd Shaabi’s Badr Organization based in their Kirkuk offices has a … different take. He says that Islamic State dressed up as Popular Mobilization Troops and carried out looting as a form of disinformation.

“A man with Hashd Shaabi hasn’t seen his family, he is not going back to take things, he is going to fight and be a martyr — he’s not there to steal,” Ali says.

The Iraqi Shia Badr Organization is one of Iraq’s most powerful paramilitary groups. Originally set up in 1982 and — at that time — led by Iranian officers, they were accused of sectarian killings during the 2006–07 Iraqi civil war.

They now operate under the umbrella of the Hashd Shaabi. Shaker says they have around 5,000 fighters in the Kirkuk area and — he claims — even have Christians and Sunni among them.

“If there had been no fatwa in Iraq it would have been a bad situation,” Shakar says as he sits in a large hall in the Badr’s offices. Today, the organization is having a ceremony to remember one of their colonels who died fighting in Tikrit.

In the dim hall lit by fluorescent tubes, two portraits of a man wearing a uniform photoshopped onto an Iraqi flag sit on a table. His name was Qassim Avaf, a fighter who died in the Turkmen’s first attack on Bashir in June 2014.

The militia found his body in no-man’s land.

Two portraits of Qassim Avaf, a fighter who was killed in the first attack on Bashir in June 2014, are seen on a table in the Kirkuk offices of the Badr Organisation. Matt Cetti-Roberts photo

Another attack

Back at the front line, a group of fighters stand together. Another fighter named Abbas, an officer in charge of around 100 Turkmen, stands with a shotgun over his shoulder.

“Three were injured by mortars,” he says, referring to an Islamic State barrage earlier that day. “Since the first attack on Bashir, 64 fighters have been killed and 103 injured.”

Abbas points to his faith as one reason why he joined the Badr Organisation. But he says he wants to take back the town because it belongs to the Turkmen. “We will fight side-by-side to retake the town ourselves, but we need any help we can get, it’s just us on this front line.”

There haven’t been coalition air strikes on this part of the front line, and in Abbas’ opinion, the U.S.-led coalition only supports the Kurdish Peshmerga. The Badr Organization is one of several groups that the coalition does not support with air strikes because of their sectarian agenda, according to a senior coalition forces officer.

So why hasn’t the Hashd Shaabi taken back the town? Abbas replies frankly that there are too many IEDs.

Shia Turkmen fighters, Abbas at left and Abu Mikhail at right, on the front line close to Bashir. Matt Cetti-Roberts photo

Another fighter, 24-year-old Abu Mikhail, left Bashir nine months ago when the town fell to Islamic State. A former carpenter, he joined the Badr Organization the same month.

“The call of fatwa made us join,” he says. “I fight first for faith, then for my country, and also for my brother who died fighting here to get Bashir back.” A few days after our interview, Abu Mikhail was killed when Islamic State detonated a large car bomb during the Turkmen’s attack on Bashir.

Nearly mile behind the Hashd Shaabi is another berm manned by Kurdish troops armed with ancient Soviet tanks and MTLB armored personnel carriers armed with 14.5-millimeter ZPU anti-aircraft guns.

Capt. Hider Sulaiman is a Peshmerga platoon commander. He stands near a T-62 tank.

The flag of Kurdistan flies from the top of a Kurdish Peshmerga T-62 tank based at a support weapons line around a kilometer behind the Bashir front line. Matt Cetti-Roberts photo

“We work together on this front line,” Hider says.

He adds that both his unit — affiliated with the Kurdistan Democratic Party — and the Badr Organization communicate and work well together.

The presence of the KDP troops working with the Hashd Shaabi may be related to problems between the Popular Mobilization Forces and Peshmerga forces loyal to the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan — the political party that most of the units in this area belong to.

The Peshmerga are not here to take the village, but to support the Shia Turkmen fighters with heavier weaponry such as artillery. The village is Turkmen, so the job of taking it falls to the Hashd Shaabi.

Hider suggests that there may be as few as 50–60 Islamic State left in the town, and half of them could be snipers.

The militants in the town also use mortars to harass the Hashd Shaabi. “This morning they fired mortars. There is no pattern to their firing,” Hider explains. “Sometimes they shell at 2:00 a.m., sometimes 3:00 a.m., sometimes in the evening.”

Flags bearing names of those killed during the June 2014 attack on Bashir are seen on a wall in the nearby town of Taza. Matt Cetti-Roberts photo

The next attack would take place two days later. The fourth such assault on the town saw 400 Turkmen from all over Brigade 16 — bolstered by other Popular Mobilization forces from the rest of Iraq — attempt to reclaim the Turkmen town.

They failed.

IEDs caused the attack to stall and many — if not all — of the Islamic State insurgents were wearing suicide vests. The militants also drove a large car bomb at the attackers, causing multiple casualties.

The front line is now closer to Bashir, 30 meters in some places, but the town still remains in Islamic State hands.

View story at Medium.com

Note: The article by Dr. Hassan Aydinli, Iraqi Turkmen Front EU Representative, about BASHEER has been posted on the European Parliament’s website:http://www.europarl.europa.eu/…/tragedyoftheturkmenpeop…

Iraqi Turkmen Representatives at the D-IRQ meeting at the European Parliament in Strasbourg

May 29, 2015 at 8:27 am | Posted in D-IRQ Meeting, Turkmen reps at EU Parliament | Leave a comment

eu parliament2

Iraqi Turkmen Front EU Representative Dr. Hassan Aydinli, is pleased to inform you that the Turkmen cause is on the Agenda of the upcoming Delegation for Relations with Iraq Meeting which will take place at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France on Wednesday 10 June 2015, from 15.00-17.00.
Exchange of views with the Representatives of the Turkmen community in Iraq:
• Hassan Tawfiq Aydinli, Iraqi Turkmen Front EU Representative
• Niyazi Mimar Oglu, Iraqi Council of Representatives, Member

Exchange of views with the Temporal Self-Government of Sinjar, created for the fight against Daesh:

• Said Hassan, Chairman of the Temporal Self-Government of Sinjar (tbc)
• Nouri Mirza, Board Member of the Self-Government and representative of the Yazidi Self-Defence Force (tbc)

Exchange of views with the Representatives of the Assyrian people in Iraq:

• Sharbil Hanna Matty, General of the Assyrian Nineveh Plain Forces
• Youssif Yakoub Matti, President of the Bethnahrin Patriotic Union

ORSAM REPORT ON AL -HASHD AL-SHAABI

May 29, 2015 at 8:18 am | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment

ORSAM REPORT

A NEW CONTROVERSIAL ACTOR IN POST-ISIS IRAQ : AL-HASHD AL-SHAABI

(THE POPULAR MOBILIZATION FORCES)

For the report please click on :

http://www.orsam.org.tr/en/enUploads/Article/Files/2015527_198raporengweb.pdf

ITF EU Representative Dr Hassan Aydinli was invited to the HRWF Conference ‘In Prison for their Religion or Beliefs’ at the EU Parliament in Brussels

May 28, 2015 at 2:16 pm | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment
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ITF EU Representative Dr Hassan Aydinli was invited to the HRWF Conference ‘In Prison for their Religion or Beliefs’ at the EU Parliament in Brussels

Dr. Hassan Aydinli, ITF EU Representative and Ms. Merry Fitzgerald, Europe-Turkmen Friendships were invited by Human Rights Without Frontiers (HRWF) and EPP Group at the EU Parliament to the Conference ‘In Prison for their Religion or Beliefs’.

Brussels, 26th May 2015

Prof. Alan Murray, Chair of the European Network on Religion & Belief (ENORB)
Dr. Hassan Aydinli and Mrs. Merry Fitzgerald

The Conference was hosted by MEP Laslo TOKES,
the Moderator was his assistant Ms. Zsuzsa FERENCZY.

Mr. Willy FAUTRE, Executive Director of Human Rights Without Frontiers presented the FREEDOM OF RELIGION OR BELIEF (FoRB) ANNUAL REPORT 2014: ‘IN PRISON FOR THEIR RELIGION OR BELIEFS’ and the ‘FREEDOM OF RELIGION OR BELIEF & BLASPHEMY PRISONERS LIST 2014′ 
A report about 20 countries with religion or belief prisoners along with policy recommendations for the European Union specific to each country. 

In his speech Mr. Willy FAUTRE gave the Reasons for Imprisonment in these countries and he reminded the participants that FREEDOM OF RELIGION OR BELIEF(FoRB) is a universal human right guaranteed by Article 18 of the UN International Convention on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).

In 2013, the European Union adopted the EU Guidelines on Freedom of Religion or Belief, Human Rights Without Frontiers International was involved in the drafting process along with religious communities and other civil society organisations. The Guidelines are an important reference tool for EU institutions in third countries for identifying FoRB violations and assisting citizens who have been discriminated against on the basis of their religion or beliefs. The Guidelines also set out the actions and measures that the EU can take at multilateral-fora, regional and bi-lateral levels with regard to countries which fail to respect FoRB.

The purpose of this report is to highlight those states which imprison people for practices that are protected by Article 18 of the ICCPR and Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights. The report also makes policy recommendations to the EU and other international institutions which are in a position to put pressure on the relevant countries to better respect and uphold FoRB.

Dr. Mark BARWICK of HRWF made a presentation about the Targeted Groups.

Mr. Alfiaz VAIYA Project Manager of HRWF and Mr. Jean-Bernard BOLVIN of European External Action Service made FoRB recommendations.

Four members of the EU parliament attended the conference.

The presentations were followed by Questions and Answers and by a Cocktail during which the participants had the opportunity to continue exchanging  views. Dr. Hassan AYDINLI, ITF EU Representative spoke with Mr. Jean-Bernard BOLVIN, Policy Officer, Human Rights and Multilateral Diplomacy – European External Action Service, with Prof. Alan MURRAY, Chair of the European Network on Religion & Belief (ENORB) and with several other participants belonging to human rights associations.

Iraqi refugees arrive in southwest Turkey

May 19, 2015 at 9:21 am | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment
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18 May 2015

Iraqi refugees arrive in southwest Turkey

Dozens of Iraqi refugees arrived in Turkey on Monday, having travelled through Syria for more than two weeks. A group of 64 Iraqis were welcomed by Turkish troops in the southeastern province of Hatay before they were ferried to hospital in Yayladagi for medical checks.

Abdul Samet, from Iraq’s northern Mosul province, arrived in Turkey with his wife and two children. He said they had crossed Syria to escape attacks by Daesh extremists in Iraq.

“We cannot directly come to the Turkish border as it is dangerous,” he told Anadolu Agency. “We set out for Turkey via Syria to save our lives. We walked most of the road with our children, suffering from thirst and hunger, and now we do not know what to do.”

Mohamed Ali, an Iraqi Turkmen, said he decided to come to Turkey to save his life. The Turkmen ethnic group are among those targeted by Daesh militants.

Another Turkmen, a doctor who asked not to be named, said they reached the border by vehicle and foot. “We tried many times to reach Turkey via Iraq but failed,” he said.

Locals in Yayladagi provided food and water for the refugees.

Northern and western parts of Iraq have been gripped by insecurity since June 2014 when Daesh seized large chunks of land and declared a caliphate.

 

http://www.turkishweekly.net/news/185817/iraqi-refugees-arrive-in-southwest-turkey.html

 

UNPO Calls for Immediate Investigation into Attack on Iraqi Turkmen Academic

May 10, 2015 at 2:45 pm | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment
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dr ABBAS TAQI

Photo above: Prof. Dr. Abbas TAQI, Rector of the University of Kirkuk (Turkmen).

May 8, 2015

UNPO Calls for Immediate Investigation into Attack on Iraqi Turkmen Academic

On 4 May 2015, at the University of Kirkuk, a number of armed students arbitrarily attacked the office of the University’s newly appointed President, Dr Abbas Taqi, a prominent academic of Turkmen origin. Dr Taqi was reportedly threatened by the armed men and forced to sign a letter of resignation. The local Government of Kirkuk has turned a blind eye to the incident and no intervention by local security forces has been reported. Instead, official sources claim that Dr Taqi’s resignation was voluntary.

Dr Taqi had been appointed as the President of the University of Kirkuk only two weeks prior to the attack by the Iraqi Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, Dr Hussain Al-Shahristani. When announced in the Iraqi Parliament, his appointment caused reactions among MPs who did not consider favourable the idea of having an ethnic Turkmen oversee higher education in the disputed area of Kirkuk. However, convinced that this was not a wilful decision to step down, Minister Al-Shahristani has announced in a written statement that Dr Taqi will continue with his academic assignment as the Head of the University.

While the advance of the so called ‘Islamic State’ in Iraq has had devastating consequences for the Iraqi Turkmen, with Turkmen towns and villages being occupied and the majority of the population displaced, the recent attack on Dr Taqi ought to be seen in light of the marginalisation and discrimination the Turkmen of Iraq have been enduring for years. The emergence of ISIS and its rapid growth has prompted large scale international action, including military and humanitarian support, but the plight of the Iraqi Turkmen has been left underreported. The failure on part of both Kurdish and Iraqi federal authorities to protect Kirkuk’s population has allowed for a dramatic demographic change in the already disputed area, which in turn has caused further tensions, as exemplified through the recent attack on Dr Taqi.

While strongly condemning the attack on Dr Taqi, UNPO calls for an immediate and credible investigation into the incident, as well as into any allegations claiming it may not have been an autonomous initiative of a few violent students. By highlighting this, UNPO strives to draw much needed attention to the ongoing and rapidly increasing tensions in Iraq, and wishes to stress that whereas defeating ISIS represents a crucial short term priority, planning for what comes next is of utmost importance, as tensions between Iraq’s ethnic components, segregation, and discrimination remain serious problems, which – if unaddressed – risk escalating into further violence.

Please find the statement attached.

Dr Hassan Aydinli, ITF EU Representative’s comment re: U.S. draft bill to arm Kurdish peshmergas and Sunni militias

May 3, 2015 at 4:52 pm | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment
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HASSAN AYDINLI

Very pertinent comment by Dr HASSAN AYDINLI, ITF EU Representative, regarding the U.S. draft bill to arm exclusively the Kurdish peshmerga militias and the Sunni militias in Iraq  :

The US Administration must know once and for all,  that the geography of IRAQ as country and the unity of its people composed of Arabs, Kurds, Turkmens, Assyrians, Chaldeans,Yezidis, Shabaks, Saabi and Mandeans ARE NOT FOR SALE in front of their Congress!

The US Congress Armed Services Committee’s proposed bill to allocate 720 million dollars aid to Iraq with outrageous conditions is an insult to the dignity of the Iraqi People.

The Iraqi people’s message to the US Administration is a clear cut message : U.S., keep your proposed 720 million dollars so-called ‘aid’,  but start paying your OVERDUE WAR DAMAGE BILL TO IRAQ (since 20th March 2003) which amounts to at least ONE TRILLION US DOLLARS.”

Hassan Tawfiq Aydinli.

NEW YORK – The United Nations has expressed concern that a $612 billion defense bill now before the US Congress will further militarizing the situation in Iraq by arming “non-state” groups, namely the Sunni Arabs and Kurds.
The draft bill, which was approved 60-2 in the House Armed Services Committee on Thursday, calls for at least 25 percent of the total US aid to Iraqi forces be allocated to the Kurdish Peshmerga, Sunni tribal militias and a force to be formed called the Iraqi Sunni National Guard. The bill is expected to be voted on in the House of Representatives the week of May 12.

Kurdistan Democratic Party Attempts To Maintain Control Over Yazidis In Iraq’s Ninewa

April 24, 2015 at 12:29 am | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment
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Kurdistan Democratic Party Attempts To Maintain Control Over Yazidis In Iraq’s Ninewa

At the start of April 2015 the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) arrested Haider Sesho, the head of the Sinjar Protection Unit (HPS). The official reason for his detention was that he created an illegal militia that was not under peshmerga control. Further statements by Kurdish officials including President Massoud Barzani showed that the KDP was also concerned that Sesho was working with Baghdad rather than it. Sinjar remains largely under Islamic State (IS) control, and the HPS was one of the few groups in the area fighting them. The KDP’s actions showed that it was more interested in controlling the politics of the area than facing the insurgents.

On April 5, peshmerga from the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) arrested Sinjar Protection Unit (HPS) leader Haider Sesho. Sesho had created his own armed unit to confront the Islamic State in Ninewa’s Sinjar district. The KDP told him he could only set up the HPS if it was under its control, and was given a two month deadline to join the peshmerga. Instead Sesho went to Baghdad to ask for assistance and allegedly asked to be registered as part of the Hashd al-Shaabi, Popular Mobilization Units. Sesho has a reported 3,000 armed men under his command. As one peshmerga commander told Bas News, the KDP took Sesho’s move towards Baghdad as a threat. He went on to say that the peshmerga were the only ones that should be providing security in Sinjar. Similarly, President Massoud Barzani’s office issued a statement attacking Sesho’s relationship with the Hashd, stating that no flag but the Kurdish one was allowed in Sinjar, and that only the peshmerga were allowed in area. The reference to the flag was the fact that Sesho and others had been flying Yazidi flags in Sinjar.

The Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) and Yazidis protested Sesho’s detention. The PUK condemned the arrest, and there was said to have been a political deal with the KDP to get him released, but that has not happened. Several Yazidi members of the peshmerga reportedly left their units in protest as well.

The Sesho incident was part of a larger crackdown by the KDP against Yazidi activists in Sinjar. Several people have been arrested and others left Iraq because they were critical of the KDP, demanded the right to fly the Yazidi flag, and were denied arms by the KRG.

In August 2014, the Islamic State attacked the Sinjar region of Ninewa. The KDP, which ran the administration abandoned the area without putting up a fight or telling locals. Before that Yazidis had asked the KDP for arms to protect themselves from any impending threat from insurgents, but were denied. What happened afterward has been well documented as the IS went from village to village, separating the men and executing them, while taking the women and children away to be made into slaves or forcing them into marriages with its fighters. That in part explains the bad relations between Sesho and the KDP.

The KDP claims the Sinjar district as part of the disputed territories, and had long been trying to co-opt the Yazidi community there as part of its plans to annex the area. Sesho going to Baghdad was seen as a threat to the KDP’s long term plans to re-establish its control over the territory and the Yazidi. If they were able to find another patron they would not have to rely upon the KDP. Bringing in the central government might also lead it to claim administrative power over Sinjar. The KDP has responded with a carrot and stick approach. It has offered weapons to the Yazidi, but only as part of its peshmerga. Those that do not comply have been arrested or driven off. Ironically this isn’t coming after Sinjar has been freed. Only Mount Sinjar is not under IS control, and that was largely due to the Turkish Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and Syrian People’s Protection Units (YPG). Otherwise the KRG has talked about liberating the rest of the district, but has done little about it so far. Its main priority seems to be re-establishing its paternalistic control over the Yazidis rather than confronting the insurgency.

UPDATE
Sesho was released April 13. He apparently gave into KDP pressure during his arrest and said that his men would work with the Peshmerga Ministry and no longer seek assistance from Baghdad.

SOURCES

Bas News, “Haider Shasho Released and Joins Peshmerga,” 4/13/15
– “KRG: Haider Shasho Wanted to Create “Illegitimate Militia Group” in Sinjar,” 4/7/15

eKurd, “Death threats against Kurdish Yazidi activists in Iraqi Kurdistan,” 4/6/15

– “Iraqi Kurdistan News in brief – April 8, 2015,” 4/8/15
– “Iraqi Kurdistan News in brief – April 13, 2015,” 4/13/15

– “Kurdistan president: No independent Yazidi unit nor flag will be accepted,” 4/9/15

Ezidi Press, “Breaking news: HPS Supreme Commander Haydar Sesho arrested,” 4/6/15

Hawrami, Karzan Sabah, “Yazidi Commander: Haider Shasho Received “Huge Sum of Money” From Baghdad,” Bas News, 4/8/15

Millet, “KDP to Release Kidnapped PUK Official & German Source Reveals KDP Worried About Information Leak,” 4/8/15

 http://musingsoniraq.blogspot.nl/2015/04/kurdistan-democratic-party-attempts-to.html

THE TRAGEDY OF THE TURKMENS OF BEŞİR (BASHEER) IN KIRKUK PROVINCE – IRAQ

March 27, 2015 at 3:20 am | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment
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FOR THE ATTENTION OF THE HONOURABLE MEMBERS OF THE DELEGATION FOR RELATIONS WITH IRAQ IN THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT.

 

THE TRAGEDY  OF THE TURKMENS OF BEŞİR (BASHEER) IN KIRKUK PROVINCE – IRAQ

TWO GENOCIDES  HAVE BEEN COMMITTED AGAINST THEM IN THE PAST 28 YEARS 

            THE FIRST ONE IN APRIL 1986 AND THE SECOND ONE IN JUNE 2014.

By Dr. Hassan Aydinli,

Iraqi Turkmen Front EU Representative

Brussels, 25th March 2015.

 map-of-turkmenli with Beshir

 Notes:

1- Above is the map where the sub-district of BEŞIR (Basheer or Bashir in Arabic) is indicated.

2-The area in green on the map is where the Turkmens have settled in Iraq 1000 years ago.

BEŞIR (Basheer) is the name of a large Turkmen agricultural sub-district situated 25 km south west of Kirkuk whose name has become famous as a symbol of the Turkmens’ sufferings in Iraq after it was mentioned in the Preamble of the new Iraqi Constitution in 2005, along with the names of the Arab sub-district Al-Dujail and of the Kurdish sub-district Halabja, whose populations have suffered the most in Iraq under the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein.

 

Indeed, the ordeals of the Turkmens of BEŞIR (Basheer) under the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein from 1980 up to 2003 have been acknowledged by the legislators and the authors of the new Iraqi constitution as ‘crimes of ethnic cleansing, racial oppression and massacres amounting to genocide, committed against the Turkmens of Basheer’.

 

HISTORY:

 

The history of BEŞIR as a Turkmen agricultural settlement in the north of Iraq goes back to more than 1000 years and its first recorded history goes back to 1556, it is mentioned in the Ottoman registers (Dafter Tahrir of Kirkuk N° 111 of the year 1556 AC) dating back to the reign of the Ottoman Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent and kept in the Turkish Archives in Ankara.

According to these registers there were 89 Turkmen families and 9 bachelors living in BEŞIR in 1556, all of them farmers who had been issued official deeds (certificates) registered in their names.

After WWI, when the new Iraqi state (the Kingdom of Iraq) was established the deeds and property certificates issued during the Ottoman era were renewed in 1936 and registered as deeds being issued by the Iraqi state.

The property ownership situation in Iraq remained unchanged until 14th July 1958 when the Monarchy was overthrown by a coup d’état and the Republic of Iraq was declared.

First genocide: Land confiscation, ethnic cleansing and racial discrimination

During the early years of the Republic the Iraqi Communist Party and their Kurdish leftist allies became predominant and they influenced the political and social orientation of the regime. The government issued many new laws, among them the ‘agrarian law’ which limited the land ownership to a maximum of 2.000 donums (500 hectares) per family.

Many hectares of land were taken from Turkmen families in BEŞIR to be distributed to landless Iraqis such as the Arab nomads and poor Kurds, to help them to settle around BEŞIR.

Furthermore in 1968, when the Baath party came to power in Iraq by a military coup, it embarked in a policy of arabization of the Turkmen region in Kirkuk Province, they issued new laws limiting the property ownership to 200 donums (50 hectares) per family (law number 117 of 1970) and more agricultural lands belonging to the Turkmen families living in BEŞIR and in the other Turkmen villages around Kirkuk were confiscated.

From 1970 to 1980 the Revolutionary Command Council of the Baath regime issued several decisions by which they confiscated lands belonging to Turkmens, supposedly for the purpose of general public interest (protection of oil fields, enlargement of the military installations, new air base, etc.), i.e. Decision Number 369 of 1975, Decision Number 824 of 1976, Decision Number 949 of 1977, Decision 1065 of 1978 etc… This is how 1.300.000 Donums (325.000 hectares) of agricultural land belonging to Turkmens of Kirkuk were confiscated (as indicated in the letter from the Judicial Adviser of the Ministry of Agriculture in Kirkuk to the Minister of Agriculture Ref 16784 dated 25/11/2010).

All these confiscated Turkmen lands have been registered as ‘lands belonging to the Iraqi state’ in the names of:  the Ministry of Finance or the Ministry of Local Administration.

In 1982 after the start of the Iraq-Iran war, and despite the enrolment of several hundreds of Turkmens from BEŞIR in the army to fight against the Iranians, the Iraqi security forces arrested hundreds of intellectuals from BEŞIR, accusing them of being opponents to the Baath party and affiliated to the forbidden Al-Dawa Party (Shi’a).

In 1984, after summary judgements by a revolutionary court,  93 intellectuals of BEŞIR were sentenced to capital punishment and were hanged  and 71 were sentenced to life imprisonment in Abu Ghraib prison, among them young boys  aged 16 and elderly men over 60.

In 1986 while the young men of BEŞIR, were still fighting on the front in the war against Iran, the Baath regime, not satisfied with the above mentioned unjust punishments of innocent Turkmens of BEŞIR, ordered the expulsion of their families, giving them 48 hours to pack their personal effects and leave their homes. They were forcibly moved to some communal compounds which had been built in a rush to serve as ‘transitional accommodation’ on the road to Tikrit. Their houses were razed to the ground and their agricultural lands were confiscated and were given to Sunni Arabs supporting the Baath regime, in application of a policy designed to arabize Turkmen towns and villages in Kirkuk province.

Each of these Arab families were given 10.000 Iraqi Dinars in cash (equivalent of 33.000 USD) as incentive to build their house on Turkmen lands, while the unfortunate Turkmens were displaced without any valid reason or any legal justification and without receiving any compensation.

After a year spent in the communal compounds the Turkmen families from BEŞIR were dispersed to cities throughout Iraq: Nasseriyah, Diyala, Diwania, Kut and Erbil, without being provided with housing and without being compensated for the loss of their livelihoods, houses and agricultural lands.

From being landowners and farmers since centuries in Iraq, the Turkmens of BEŞIR became refugees in their own country and were left completely destitute.

Meanwhile the Baath regime had arabized the name of the village calling it “Al-Bashir” instead of BEŞIR.

After the regime change in April 2003, when the U.S. military occupied the north of Iraq they did not take control of the area around BEŞIR and the Arabs which had been installed there by the Baath regime remained in the area.  The original Turkmen inhabitants of BEŞIR came with tents and camped near the village, demanding the departure of the Arab settlers, they wanted to recuperate their agricultural lands and be compensated for the loss of their properties and loss of earnings since 1986.

A Turkmen NGO built 100 houses for the families of the martyrs, which became the nucleus of the new reconstructed sub-district of BEŞIR and little by little other Turkmen families returned and built their houses there.

In July 2003 the newly returned Turkmens from BEŞIR wanted to remove the Arab settlers by force, the U.S. occupation authorities intervened, they led and controlled a “mediation” in September 2003, but this mediation did not resolve the property dispute, it was only a ‘short-term agreement’ which allowed the Arabs who had settled in BEŞIR to stay on the land for the Winter agricultural season on a ‘non-renewable basis’, it granted them the Winter harvest. The requirement was that they would leave BEŞIR within one year of the signing of the ‘agreement’. After this one year period the Turkmens would be allowed to return on their ancestral lands.

Unfortunately, the Arab settlers did not respect this ‘agreement’ and they refused to leave BEŞIR, despite the new Iraqi government’s offer to give them a sum of money to help them return to the region they came from. To make things worse, they built more and more houses on Turkmen lands.

On 15th January 2004, the Coalition Provisional Authority issued Regulation Number 8, authorizing the Governing Council of Iraq to establish the Iraqi Property Claims Commission. Soon after its creation, the Commission created Tribunals to look at the claims presented by the Iraqis who had been unjustly dispossessed.

The Turkmens of BEŞIR followed the procedures set up by the Commission and in early 2005 they introduced 1.150 claims to the Tribunals set up by the Property Claims Commission in Kirkuk for their confiscated agricultural lands situated in BEŞIR which had been registered in their names in the official old Cadastral Sector of BEŞIR (Sector numbers 36, 38, 45, 46, 47 and 48).

In July 2005 the Tribunals examined these 1.150 claims introduced by the Turkmens of BEŞIR, they found them receivable and justified and they ordered the return of all the agricultural lands to their original owners.

Notwithstanding the decisions of the Tribunals being in favour of the Turkmens of BEŞIR, only 350 of the 1.150 claims have been finalized to-date. This shows that the discrimination against the Turkmens continues in Iraq, despite the regime change and despite a special decree (number 59 / 2088) on 3rd October 2005 from the President of the Republic ordering the central and local authorities in Iraq to execute the decisions of the Tribunals of the Property Claims Commission swiftly and without any further delay.

Regrettably, the Iraqi Ministers of Finance and of Local Administration, under the pressure of the Sunni Arab political parties, have appealed the decisions of the Tribunals for the remaining 800 claims,  arguing that they need these lands supposedly ‘for general public interest’. Consequently, the cases are still pending and the Arab settlers are still living around BEŞIR and exploiting Turkmen agricultural lands.

In 2006, under the government of Prime Minister Ibrahim Al-Jaafary, the actual Prime Minister, Dr. Haidar Al-Ibadi, who was his adviser and was nominated the President of a Committee to investigate the Crimes committed against the people of BEŞIR (under the Baath regime) had asked (on 5th February 2006 in a letter ref.MRW/12/2006) the Governor of Kirkuk, Abdurrahman Mustafa, to update him about the progress of the local authorities of Kirkuk in helping the people of  BEŞIR  to recuperate their lands and to return to their homes.  He asked the Governor to send him a report about the problems still faced by the people of BEŞIR.

On 30th March 2006, the Iraqi Council of Ministers decided to reconstruct the sub-district of BEŞIR and it allocated 43 Billion Iraqi Dinars (about 32 Million USD) for this project and ordered the Finance Ministry (in a letter dated 2nd April 2006 ref. 8/1/5/4423) to allocate 14 Billion Iraqi Dinars to the Ministry of Reconstruction and Housing for the year 2006 to start the reconstruction.

Today, twelve years after the removal of the Baath regime and nine years after the decision of the Iraqi Council of Minister to reconstruct Bashir and despite the budget allocated in 2006 for its reconstruction, not a single house has been built by the Iraqi Government for the Turkmens of BEŞIR, the only realization by the Iraqi Ministry of Reconstruction and Housing and by the Governorate of Kirkuk is a publicity board at the entrance of Taza (near BEŞIR) announcing the ‘Project for the Reconstruction of BEŞIR’.

Second genocide: mass killings, rapes, ethnic cleansing and looting by ISIS terrorist groups

To make things worse for the Turkmens of BEŞIR, the Arab settlers who remained around BEŞIR welcomed the ISIS terrorists when these came to area and they supported them in the attacks on BEŞIR which started on 14th June 2014. BEŞIR inhabitants resisted ISIS attack during 3 days with their small weapons and only little ammunition. Unfortunately, because they did not get any help from the Iraqi forces or from the Kurdish peshmerga, they could not stop the invasion and occupation of BEŞIR by ISIS terrorists.

ISIS occupied BEŞIR on 17th June 2014 and expulsed its entire Turkmen population composed of about 1.500 families, totalising about 10.000 people. ISIS terrorists looted all the homes and properties.  A few days after they had occupied BEŞIR, they published some videos on their websites, showing the demolition of schools, offices, mosques, religious shrines and the library. To terrorize and humiliate the Turkmens, ISIS published photos of their unfortunate victims, some had been beheaded and their bodies had been left in the open to be eaten by wild animals, and some others had been tied to lamp posts.

ISIS has committed war crimes and ethnic cleansing in BEŞIR. During the first three days of their attack they killed 36 unarmed Turkmens. They kidnapped women and children, tortured, raped and savagely killed some of them.

 

A few days after the occupation of BEŞIR, a group of Turkmen volunteers composed of youths from other Turkmen localities (Taza, Tisin, Tuz Khurmatu and Kirkuk) came to help the people of BEŞIR, together they tried to dislodge ISIS terrorists. Unfortunately they failed, 21 were killed and many of them were injured by ISIS snipers positioned in strategic points in and around BEŞIR, armed with heavy long range machine guns. Their task was made difficult because ISIS had already planted explosive devices on the roads leading to BEŞIR and booby trapped buildings and houses in BEŞIR.

On 18th March 2015, a Turkmen unit of the ‘Peoples’ Mobilisation to fight against ISIS’ (Hashd al-Shaabi) tried again to liberate BEŞIR, unfortunately they too failed,  because ISIS terrorists had time to reinforce their positions in and around BEŞIR, positioning many more snipers with long range machine guns in all the strategic high positions. The Turkmen unit managed to reach the Police Station but they were forced to withdraw after suffering many casualties (5 killed and 9 gravely injured).

It is clear that the Turkmen unit of the ‘Peoples’ Mobilisation to fight against ISIS’ with its present day capacity and weapons cannot liberate BEŞIR without reinforcement and support from the Iraqi and/or International Coalition air forces. Unfortunately, to-date, neither has come to their help.

During the 23rd March 2015 Meeting of the Iraqi Council of Ministers in Baghdad, it has been decided that the peoples who have suffered from ISIS terrorist attacks in the north of Iraq, i.e. the Christians, the Turkmens, the Yezidis, the Kurds and the Shabaks, exposing them to mass killings and to internally displacement, are victims of ethnic cleansing, amounting to genocides. Concerning the Turkmens, the Council of Ministers has specified that the Turkmens of TEL AFAR and the Turkmens of BEŞIR, have been victims of genocide by ISIS terrorist groups.

Thus, this is the second genocide committed against the Turkmens of BEŞIR in less than 28 years.

Therefore, we Turkmens of Iraq, call upon the Delegation for Relations with Iraq of the EU Parliament, to support our case and endorse the Turkmen demands stated in the Common Declaration of the indigenous non-ruling peoples of Iraq, (which we presented to the EU Parliament on 19th November 2014) and advocate our requests with the European Parliament, the EEAS, the European Commission and the EU Council.

The Iraqi Turkmens request the following help and support from the European Union authorities:

  • Provide humanitarian aid directly to the remaining 250.000 displaced Turkmens.
  • Provide military training and military equipment directly to the Turkmen units in order to enable them to liberate the sub-district of BEŞIR, the district of TEL AFER and the Turkmen villages around MOSUL which are still occupied by ISIS.
  • Provide material aid to rebuild the homes, properties and infrastructure damaged or destroyed by ISIS terrorist groups in the Turkmen region after it has been liberated.
  • Assist and support the Turkmens in their negotiations with the Iraqi Central Government and the KRG concerning their request for TEL AFAR and TUZHUMATU to be upgraded to the status of Governorates in Iraq.
  • Assist and support the Turkmens in their negotiations with the Iraqi Central Government and the KRG in order to achieve a special status for Kirkuk, whereby the power will be shared equally between the Turkmens, Arabs and Kurds (32% for each of the three main ethnic communities and 4% for the Christian minority of Kirkuk).
  • Assist the Turkmens in their negotiations with the Iraqi Central Government to obtain their fair share of power within the Central Government and their fair share from the Iraqi budget.

Thank you for your understanding and your support.

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