The attitude of the Iraqi Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Turkmens

June 16, 2011 at 1:13 am | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment
The Attitude of the Iraqi Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Turkmen
Bilgay DUMAN, ORSAM Middle East Researcher
Living on the territory for more than a thousand years on which Iraq had been established and on which they established their own authority, formed states and for 900 years; the Turkmen are tired to be ignored as in the past. Within the section of the website of the Iraqi Ministry of Foreign Affairs in which Iraq is introduced, when mentioning the existing communities in Iraq, there is no reference the Turkmen. After the complaints made by the Turkmen nation and officials recognizing this, the line incorporating the ethnic ranges was dismissed from the page about the info on Iraq. According to the numbers given by the Iraqi Ministry of Foreign Affairs, it is indicated that the Arabic population in Iraq is 77,1 %, Kurdish population is 19 %, Assyrian is 0,8 %, and the rest is 0,3 %. However, the fact that  there was no number regarding the Turkmen presence calls into question the credibility of Iraq which is said to be tried to foster participatory democracy. It is still remembered that the former regimes in Iraq were employing assimilating policies against the Turkmen. Especially during the period of Saddam Hussein, lots of Turkmen were arrested by the regime; they were put into prison, banished and executed. Forced to change their ID and register themselves as Arabs Turkmen families, Turkmen families were punished if they would not change it. Owing to the regime pressures in Iraq, lots of Turkmen families were compelled to migrate out of Iraq. Despite all these, the Turkmen are the actual owners of Iraq. They have never fought against the state, damaged their country by receiving support from external powers. Having the custom of forming a state, the Turkmen did not go against the state authority, they have become self isolated.Yet, the Turkmen have preserved their identities. Last population census showing ethnic situation in Iraq was done in 1957 and declared in 1959. According to this census, the total population of Iraq was about 6 million 340 whereas Turkmen population was about 567.000. In other words, based on 1957 population census, the Turkmen was about %10 of total population. When one takes into consideration the wars lasting more than 50 years, great immigrations assimilation policies and the worst situations since 1957, –even if half of the mentioned %10 population was thought to be migrated, changed identities or died- at least 1.5 million Turkmen are living among the 32 million total population in Iraq.  At this point it is accepted that the Turkmen are one of the three founders of Iraq. When the “preamble” part of the Constitution of 2005 is examined, it will be seen that there are only three ethnicities mentioned in Iraq, namely, Arabs, Kurdish and Turkmen. Besides, the Turkmen are explicitly expressed in the Iraqi Constitution.

Apart from these, the Turkmen have been trying to contribute to the politics of Iraq after 2003 during the reconstruction period. Last elections showed Turkmens’ presence, they gained 3 ministries in the Iraqi cabinet consisting of 42 ministers. In Kirkuk, it is difficult to find a way to solve the problems without the Turkmen. Furthermore, from Basra to Duhok, from Mosul to Diala in every province the Turkmen are living. Put in a different way, Turkmen are same with Iraq. However, when we take into consideration the experiences of Turkmen in Iraq politics after 2003, it is argued that the best way to preserve the identity of the Turkmen and exist in the Iraqi politics with their identity is by prioritizing their national identity and cooperating with other ethnic, political and religious groups, supporting the union under the consciousness of being Iraqi. Otherwise, by it is thought that behaving out of the Turkmen identity, religious, denominational and political approaches will lead to the assimilation and ultimately disappearance of the Turkmen national identity being one of the forming principles of Iraq. In the last period, the Turkmen politics has experienced a rise. The transformation and inclusive politics in the Iraqi Turkmen Front has increased its impact. The reaction given to the publication of the Iraqi Ministry of Foreign Affairs that ignores the existence of the Turkmens has produced quick results and the info regarding the ethnic divisions in Iraq was dismissed. Therefore, it is argued that the Turkmens’ acting in unity and coherence will enable the Turkmens to reach to the point which they deserve in Iraq.

June 8 2011

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