ORSAM held an interview with ITF Turkey Representative Dr. Hicran Kazancı

January 4, 2011 at 6:52 pm | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment
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04 January 2011, Tuesday





ORSAM: First of all Hicran Bey would you kindly introduce yourself?

Hicran Kazancı: I was born in Kirkuk. After completing my primary and secondary education in Kirkuk I finalized my education with a university degree from Mosul University. In 1995 a received the benefit of a scholarship provided for Iraqi Turks and came to Turkey. Before 1995, no scholarships were sent to Turkey for many years. After completing a doctor’s thesis in  Ankara University Faculty of Science I received various trainings in political science. I started dealing with politics in the Iraqi Turkmen Front in 2004. I have been deputized to very different places and after working in Iraqi Turkmen Front as Foreign Relations Responsible Person I went to the U.S.A for a six month training and returned to the region. I was appointed to my present position as Iraqi Turkmen Front Turkey Representative in June 2010.

Can you give us some information about the Iraqi Turkmen Front Turkey Representation?

The Iraqi Turkmen Front was established in 1995 in Arbil. After that various representations were established abroad. Starting with Turkey, representations were established in London, Damascus and Egypt. There have been efforts to open a representation in Iran, however, no results have been achieved. The function of the Iraqi Turkmen Front in Turkey is to forward political activities carried out by the Turkmen in the region to relevant political persons abroad and ensure a communication between them. The representation in Turkey is the most active one and the underlying reason for this is the importance of Turkey to the Iraqi Turkmen. The Turkey representation includes information, public relations and representation units. At the moment we continue our works with a seven person team.

As the Turkey Representation, do you publish any publications or do you have a web site?

Previously we published a magazine type publication, the Iraq Bulletin, which published daily news items from Iraq but now we continue this publication on our web site in Turkish, Arabic and English languages.

Can you tell us when was the Turkey Representation established?

The Turkey Representation has existed since the establishment of the Iraqi Turkmen Front in 1995.

Can you tell us something about your plans, your targets?

Our aim is to talk to particularly countries which are neighbors with Iraq and countries which are permanent members of the UN as well as countries which have impact in Iraq and share our views regarding the developing situation in order to inform them. It is slightly difficult to talk to the foreign missions in Iraq about the incidents because of the turmoil in the region which is why we endeavor to do so from the outside, from Turkey. In addition, we endeavor to inform the press in Turkey and media corporations about the situations developing in Iraq and the Turkmen. We meet with the ruling party and other parties to maintain relations on an objective level; we also have periodical meetings with the Turkmen living in Turkey to get an insight of their views and contributions and forward these to the central office.  

As Turkey Representative, how do you assess the situation of the Turkmen today and in general. Can you comment particularly on how this contributes to the process in Iraq?

The Iraqi Turkmen are a community which has settled in Turkey before the Turks. They have held important duties and maintained significant positions. However, it is unfortunate that so far a member of parliament has not been appointed to the Grand Assembly in Turkey; neither has a non-governmental organization with an impact on the decision making and steering mechanism in Turkey been established. Today’s situation makes this clear. They only exist on an association level. Iraqi Turkmen associations continued their activities into the middle of 1980’s. During the mid 1980’s the first political party which was the Iraq National Turkmen Party was established. In 1991 when the liberated zone (36th parallel) was realized, the Iraq National Turkmen Party was declared the first political organization. Instead of establishing relations with the State and government in Turkey, they contacted some extremist parties and became a part of them which had a negative impact on us.

If we take a look at Iraqi politics, what is your opinion on what the Turkmen did correctly or incorrectly regarding Iraqi politics?

In order to determine this it is necessary to look at the foundation the Iraqi Turkmen are standing on in Iraq’s political equation today. If the foundation it faultless then there is nothing to criticize, but if not, then we are obliged to face the mistakes we made in the recent past. The foundation and place where the Turkmen stand today is not correct. The place of the Turkmen today is not the place they deserve. There are two reasons for this; the political developments in Iraq are an important dimension because the Turkmen are a significant part of Iraq and separating the Turkmen from Iraq and making an analysis would be very wrong. When conditions in Iraq normalize and when democracy is fully established, the Turkmen will be in the mainframe. When examining the conditions in Iraq it is evident that each political party also has a militia organization. This means that instead of one national army there are four armies which is an abnormal situation not to be found anywhere in the world.

The central government and northern administration have armies also; in addition there are two militia forces which have been legalized. Under such conditions among politicized armed groups it is difficult to achieve normal conditions in Iraq. That is why it is important that international organizations lead by the UN, neighboring countries of Iraq and the U.S.A must endeavor to normalize the process to result in a single armed forces system. In federal countries none of the federal structures have a military force independent from the others. We want this situation in Iraq to be rectified.

If these conditions normalize, the Iraqi Turkmen will be in the forefront. When looking from this point there are some strategic errors which incurred during the 1991-2003 process and the processes before that. The reality is that we have not been realistic in the application of our policies in the region. The situation of  the Turkmen today can perhaps be explained by the fact that in the past a realistic policy compatible with the cultural, political social structure of the region corresponding to the values of Iraq was not applied. After today the situation may be remedied, however, it is necessary to follow the developments in Iraq very well and refrain from acting based on ideologies. All communities have nationalist or leftist ideologies but when we apply these we must analyze whether or not the applications are in parallel with Iraq centered international developments. It is clear that if we follow a policy which is not in parallel then we shall not reach any results.

As you know, a government could not be established in Iraq for the past seven months, the census planned for 24 October has also been postponed and Iraq is going through a politically rough patch. Can we have your views on these issues?

As you know, after the US intervention on Iraq and the overthrow of Saddam a new period started. We had hopeful expectations about the replacement of the old pre- 2003 regime with democracy which unfortunately did not realize. Us Iraqis lived under the dictatorship of daddy Saddam for 40 years and if the US had not intervened, we would have lived another 50 years under the dictatorship of Saddam’s son. The US intervention overthrew a dictatorship, but the erroneous strategies which were applied led to erroneous developments. Before 2003, the Minister of Foreign Affairs at the time, Abdullah Gül offered to organize meetings with the neighboring countries of Iraq. Abdullah Gül stated that stability in Iraq could be achieved with the contribution of its neighbors. As a matter of fact some meetings did take place. However, the US administration at the time, took part in some activities to prevent these meetings from taking place and the meetings were interrupted and then the war started. However, today the US also believes that stability in Iraq can be possible with the contribution of its neighbors. Importing democracy from another country will bring no benefits because democracy is a movement that must start from the basic level, from the grass roots; the best example of this is given by the most recent referendum results in Turkey. In other words, democracy happens when the people are willing.

 Iraq was under US occupation for 7.5 years in total and the ex US Iraq commander claims to know where Iraq is going in the 3 to 4.5 years time. This is the result of applications which did not take the community structure of Iraq, its cultural values nor political system into consideration. The culprit is not the U.S., it is the Iraqi politicians. When the Iraqi government was being established, everyone was out for the vested interests of his own party or even personal gains which we see as a lack of goodwill.

Everybody talks about establishing a national government but this talk is not turned into action. I believe that Iraqi politicians should be well intentioned and take a step backwards regarding some issues, otherwise this situation will continue. When we observe the situation today, it is evident that basic services which should have been provided to the people have not realized although 7.5 years have gone by. 

The electricity and water problems continue. Although the annual income of state officials is above 150 thousand dollars the income of the average citizen is around 2000 thousand dollars. It is futile to speak of democracy in a community where there are such wide gaps between the annual incomes of the population. The solution to this is that Iraq’s neighboring countries work towards peace in Iraq and Iraqi politicians put aside their personal gains, the interest of their party and start thinking about the people and start acting in good faith.

What are your thoughts regarding Kirkuk. Where is the process heading?

Kirkuk is the key point in the region and the future of Kirkuk will not only change the balances in Iraq but also have an impact on international equilibrium. The petroleum economy and petroleum reserves are sufficient to pinpoint the importance of Kirkuk. However, it would be a mistake for the Turkmen to put Iraq aside and focus only on the Kirkuk issue. It is important to analyze the situations and developments in Iraq and act accordingly rather than look at Iraq through the Kirkuk window. The problem in Kirkuk is not on the ethnic for sectarian platform. This is just a ruse. The real problem of Kirkuk is a conflict of international interests. For this reason we are obliged to determine our disposition in this matter posthaste.

What are your expectations from Turkey as both Iraqi Turkmen Front Turkey Representative and as a Turkmen?

This question has become quite the cliché, but rather than ask “What are your expectations from Turkey” the question to ask is “what does Turkey expect from you”. Turkey is an independent country which has attained a rising image due to the foreign policy applied in the region in the recent past and gained growing respect. In 2002 American administrative officials had meetings with Turkish officials about the war in Iraq and the intervention plans and their expectation of support from Turkey. They requested for airbases in the Southeast and the Black Sea regions. The reason given was combating global terrorism. At the time these requests were turned down by Turkey and with each passing day we see how right this decision was. Turkey said that the situation would become even more complicated if the US intervened in Iraq. If one of the 2700 clans living in the Middle East are touched, they all affect each other and the situation spreads all the way to Yemen where we witness the situation today. Turkey also prevented the US intervention in Syria after the assassination of Refik Hariri on 14 February 2005. For this reason Turkey is a leader among the Middle Eastern countries, follows a foreign policy with a view to protect national interests in all areas which is a rather natural action from the viewpoint as the basis of international relations. When this protective action is applied our area can be entered and the situation should be received quite normally. The important issue here is what we must do. We must act on a policy that is removed from hostilities and submission. When we succeed in the application of this policy 70 % of the problems in Turkmeneli region will be resolved at their starting points.

In conclusion, as Iraqi Turkmen Front Turkey Representative do you have a message for the Turkmen?

We are facing a sensitive period. The census is approaching and although in principle we see the census as a positive element we are opposed to its execution under the present circumstances. In the end the census shall be carried out but us Turkmen are against being swept into pessimism. The forthcoming process is of utmost importance. I recommend that rather than in give in to pessimism, they look to the future with hope because the forthcoming process is the beginning of the struggle of the Turkmen to take their rightful place.



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