Iraqi Turkmen Front Turkey Representative Dr. Hicran Kazancı was hosted live on TRT Türk TV Channel.

October 19, 2010 at 5:13 pm | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment

ITF RT Dr. Hicran Kazancı was hosted live on TRT Türk TV Channel.

Iraq Turkmen Front Turkey Representative Dr. Hicran Kazancı was hosted live on TRT Türk TV Channel. Topics such as where do the Turkmen see themselves after the general elections in Iraq on 7th March? What are their plans for the future? Could the problems of the past be overcome by gaining equal status with other groups? Expectations from Turkey, Kirkuk issues and other contemporary topics were discussed.

It has been impossible to establish a government in Iraq for eight months, how does this situation affect the Turkmen?

Two major developments have been on the Iraqi agenda for the last few days. The first issue is the inability to establish a government for eight months. The second issue is the census. I do not quite agree with the statements that the reason for the inability of establishing a government for eight months is due to the intervention of the regional countries and sovereign powers. This is entirely due to the problems among Iraqi politicians. Iraqi politicians do not trust each other; the loss of trust and the fact that Iraqi politicians speaking about the Iraqi identity pursue politics based on ethnic and sectarian politics. Their aim is to get the biggest share of the pie which in this case is Iraq. They give promises to each other but change their minds the next day. This attitude indicates that their priority is certainly not the Iraqi nation.

What is the situation of the Turkmen in this problematic picture? What are your views particularly regarding the census?

A census is a procedure that must be carried out periodically; a country will determine its strategy for the future, takes precautions, makes investments according to the results of its census data. However, results can be achieved only if the conditions for running a census are legitimate.

Well, is that true for Iraq? No. If a census is held without justice and transparency it will pave the way to ethnic clashes. An application form for the restructuring of government organizations which were dissolved after 2003 has been prepared. This form contains the same question regarding ethnicity as does the form prepared for the census. This title was used as basis for the structuring of the government organizations. We shall not oppose the census once the question regarding ethnic sect is deleted and the demographic structure is reinstated. According to data supplied by the Ministry of Planning, the population of Kirkuk should be 950.000 instead of 1.650.000. The figures for Mosul should be 2,650 000 instead of 3,450 000, Duhuk should be 520 000 instead of 978 000 while Basra’s population should be 2 million instead of 2.5 mio. In addition, holding a census without a valid government is problematic in itself.

Serious tensions have been experienced especially during the past 4-5 years. At this point, have the tensions been overcome? Is the environment more favorable for easier communication? Is it possible to form sufficient platforms to facilitate compromise in a concrete sense? What is your opinion? If you compared a photograph taken five years ago and one of today, how would you comment?

The events of 9 April 2003 were planned. The electric authority, population and land registry offices were plundered and burnt. As long as those tensions and injustices cannot be contained, the problems will continue. The problems need permanent solutions. Otherwise, we will have postponed problems instead of permanent solutions.

There seems to be a calmer atmosphere. Is this vision false?

Of course the situation is better than previously. However, the problems will be fanned once the census is held. The activities are aimed at the future.

There seems to be a lack of unity among Turkmen. Is this an issue that has been put into words by Turkey? Why do you think such a problem is experienced?

There is unity and solidarity on the base level. However, this might not be the case among the executives. This is caused by misguided strategies in the past. All groups with the exception of the Turkmen, have armed militia forces. During the process since 1925 to date, all the regimes in Iraq have brought with them oppression and assimilation applications for the Turkmen. All the regimes developed and nurtured a perception that Turkey would have an intervening role in the fate of the Turkmen. All this brought oppression. And what did we do? Turkey, which is the strongest country in the region, felt a need to take an interest in the problems of region starting with the Turkmen issue and our people tried to administer Turkmen politics in Iraq through associations established in Turkey. Other Iraqi groups were supported by western countries to organize the military and state organizations. Everything was in place by 2003. Unfortunately, we were unable to develop such a strategy. That is mainly due to the mistakes made in past politics.

The USA is withdrawing from Iraq; does this help in ensuring stability in the region? How will this affect you?

The effect on Iraq will be negative. The withdrawal of US combat troops will put three major problems on the forefront. The first problem is the general security situation in Iraq. The second issue is the deterioration observed recently in the relationship between the Awakening Councils and the central government. The third issue consists of the armed militia forces. After the US departure, how well will the Iraqi government be able to control the armed militia forces? The Turkmen, being the only group without a militia force, will bear the brunt of the damage. Unfortunately the recognized policy in the Middle East is power. When you are unable to avail to militia sources and resort to policy you end up loosing.

Major developments have taken place in Turkey regarding the Southeast and the Kurdish problem. How is this fact perceived by Arbil, Kirkuk and the Turkmen?

The initiative incepted in Turkey is an internal issue pertinent to Turkey. The progress and institutionalization of democracy in Turkey will have positive effect mainly for the Turkmen, Iraq and even the countries in the region. From time to time Barzani and Talabani have supported this initiative in a major way. However, a specific group of Kurds perceived this initiative as a major weakness on the part of the state and fell or were induced to fall into error. If the initiative had been realized until now, the PKK terror organization would be eliminated. There are close to 1000 Syrians and Iranian in this organization; these countries would also gain stability. Regarding Kandil mountain, according to article 52 of the UN convention, if the social peace and stability of a country is threatened by another country, the threatened country has a right to intervene. If Barzani and the USA cannot control Kandil, then Turkey has a right to intervene.

Does Kirkuk still belong to the Turkmen?

According to the data of the Ministry of Planning, the population of Kirkuk should be 950 thousand; the reality is that this number is 1.650.000. That is almost twice the foreseen figure. Which is why the answer is no. Turkmen are the second or third group. After 2003, province assembly laws, article 23 and article 6 of the election law have come into force. If these articles are implemented properly, the census results will come out correctly. Then it will become evident that the Turkmen are the titleholders of Kirkuk.

When we examine the results of the last elections, we see that different results have emerged. This result was brought on through cooperation and solidarity. Do you think that during the future term unity and solidarity will emerge to the forefront in a significant way?

The Turkmen living in Turkmeneli region do so in a dispersed way. There is actually no area dedicated solely to us. If you want to be active here, you are obliged to act with groups whose strategies coincide with your own strategies. That is natural. We participated in these elections from the Iraqi list. This was a correct strategy. With this strategy we shattered the one MP syndrome. Today 10 Turkmen MP’s, six from us and four from other groups, are sitting in the Parliament. Finally we have comprised a Turkmen group. This is a major step in being able to act in unison.

What else can be done in order to act in unison?

A group should be formed in the Parliament because unless you have a group, you are without influence. The six persons are from the Turkmen Front, the 4 other persons are from different parties. They will act in unison regarding issues which are vital to the Turkmen people. Like the census or Kirkuk. This is the beginning of other unions.

The democracy experience at least showed that if you want to be influential in Iraq or Northern Iraq, you are obliged to have political clout. The Turkmen learned this lesson through trial and error.

 
That is correct; we cannot tolerate the losses we suffered in the past any more. It is important to take steps so that we do not lose our hard earned gains.
 

Are there any expectations from Turkey?

Rather than asking about expectations from Turkey, why not ask “what can we do there?”. Do we have a national strategy? Was this strategy adopted by our people? Turkey provides adequate support. I read the press and the impression I get is that Turkey has all but abandoned the Turkmen which is so far from the truth. The support provided is in excess of sufficient. The support is not visible because we lack a national strategy and a national policy to realize this. We need to mitigate our internal problems. If we can realize this we can do so much.

You stated that Kirkuk is our artery. If Kirkuk passes to one side the world will change. These are very striking words which are also true because under Kirkuk lies an appetizing petroleum reserve. What will happen to Kirkuk?

Let us not talk about Kirkuk’s identity. I say we sit at a table and lay the problems down and discuss them. The problems can be overcome with dialogue. All groups execute policies with the intention of protecting their national interests. That is absolutely normal. When these policies are executed they may trespass our Turkmen interests. When this happens, it is important to implement a fundamental policy far from resignation and hostility. When we succeed, starting with Kirkuk, many problems emerging in the Turkmeneli region can be nipped at the bud.
As you know, the petroleum reserves in Kirkuk equal 30% of petroleum reserves in Iraq and 5% of the petroleum reserves in the world. It is not just a problem between two ethnic groups. It is a problem that is valid for all groups in Kirkuk. It is a problem between the Baghdad administration and the Arbil administration, neighboring countries and a problem for international actors.

We cannot view a problem of Iraq through a Kirkuk window. We have to diagnose the problems correctly. The problem in Kirkuk is not an ethnic problem, it is a problem caused by the conflict of sovereign powers struggling over their interests. We need to determine our role and actions in resolving this problem.

We had an interview with Turkmeneli Tv General Director 2 years ago. Actually he said something very positive. Perhaps he was underlining his ideal. He said that Iraq should share its values and riches among its people. We do not want to sole proprietors but we say that those who live above these reserves should have a say about them.

The constitutional law of Iraq says just that. A constitutional law which has been ratified by the people says so. And yet, unfortunately, it is not implemented. When normalization is carried out in Iraq, the Turkmen will be the group that benefits most.

To go back to the beginning, it is safe to say that the most significant obstacle to any formation is the inability to establish a government for eight months.

Yes that is correct.

The other presenter immediately interrupts to ask is there a calendar, a process for this?

My personal opinion is that maybe by the end of this year. Rumor has it that it will be established next month.

To round up; in the framework of our discussion are the Iraqi Turkmen hopeful about the future. What kind of Iraq; what kind of Northern Iraq do you foreseen?

The process ahead is a tough one. It will be very painful. In the end, the conditions in Iraq will normalize. The main beneficiaries of this will be the Turkmen. Looking back, the steps taken recently are very positive. This means that next term many of our problems, including internal issues, will be mitigated, and parallel to international developments have a very positive effect on change.

Is it correct to say that the biggest opportunity is the normalization trend in the region? Like you say, every country wants normalization, a peaceful and tranquil environment.

The US wants this also. They do not want the order they have set up to deteriorate after the withdrawal. Today, looking at the situation, it is evident that support to the groups which were received major support by the US has been reduced to half of its previous size. Extreme requests have been honed down. It will be to the benefit of the people living in Northern Iraq and the regional people that the order is not disrupted.

Mr. Kazancı thank you very much. This has been a pleasant conversation. You have drawn a portrait including a bit of retroactive self criticism which is the best part…A lasting future cannot be built without self criticism. Thank you again.

I thank you.
Kerkuk.net

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