KRG Directive to Return Land to Kurdish Farmers

October 16, 2012 at 7:01 pm | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment
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According to the article below, Kurds are getting their agricultural lands back thanks to a directive issued by the Kurdistan Ministry of Agriculture, that is very good news.

But what about the Turkmens who were dispossessed from their agricultural lands under the Arabization policies of the former regime?

I’m thinking of the Turkmens of the village of BESHIR whose village and agricultural lands are still occupied by “imported Arabs” who refuse to budge, despite the fact that they would receive compensation from the government!

Besides, the great majority of the Turkmens from Beshir have not received any compensation for the loss of their homes which were destroyed under the Baath regime, although they have the deeds proving they are the rightful owners and despite the fact that they have submitted their files in due time to the Property Claims Commission.

Why then is it taking the Iraqi government so long to compensate the Turkmens?

Here is the article:

KRG Directive to Return Land to Kurdish Farmers

15/10/2012 22:29:00By NAWZAD MAHMOOD

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SULAIMANI, Kurdistan Region — According to a directive issued by Kurdistan’s Ministry of Agriculture, dozens of occupied agricultural lands will be given back to Kurdish farmers under a temporary contract until Article 140 of the Iraqi constitution is implemented.

The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) directive will pave the way for the original owners to regain lands that have been occupied for more than 30 years. The farmers will also receive agricultural subsidies from the KRG.

But one of the Kurdish farmers who regained part of his occupied land said, “When they occupied my land it was green and productive; now it has been given back to me barren.”

In late 1975, an Arab man named Sheikh Tariq — whose uncle was the governor of Diyala province at the time — prevented Izzat Nuri Begg from selling dates from his farm at the market.

His son Muhammad Izzat, who has inherited the farm, said his father was told: “Starting tomorrow, with an order from the governor, you shall not be allowed to step onto your farm and it is no longer yours.”

Izzat is now preparing to regain the land stolen from his father. “After our 101 acres of land was taken away from us, we had nothing left and went to Kalar,” he told Rudaw.

Izzat is from Bawa Mahmoud village in the Khanaqin district. He said that their farm was very fertile and produced 150 tons of oranges, 300 tons of dates and 150 tons of lemons and pomegranates every year.

“Now we have regained two-thirds of our occupied land and it has been totally destroyed. I do not believe our total products will exceed 50 tons this year,” he said.

Izzat said that Tariq, the man who occupied the land, told his father that he would never get his farm back. The authorities at the time helped him gain official ownership documents.

Now, Izzat said, “Although our farm has become totally barren, I do wish I could see that Arab Sheikh to tell him: We have our land back.”

Muhammad Aman, 59, is one of the Kurdish farmers whose farm was occupied for over 30 years. He talked about the pain of losing his farm, saying, “Life suddenly became very hard because there were 20 farmers in the village who became jobless overnight.”

Aman described the KRG directive as “very good” and hoped to receive agricultural subsidies. “Since we lost our land, we have not received any government help for all these years,” he said.

Kamaran Abdullah, the Khanaqin agricultural director, said an order was received from the KRG in 2011 that gave them the authority to return land to rightful owners who had returned to their homes after 2003. Abdullah said that the land was returned under temporary contracts that will be renewed until Article 140 is implemented.

In 1981, an extensive Arabization and land-seizing campaign was launched in the region. In the same year, a decree was issued to forcefully take land from Kurds who possessed legal ownership documents. The decree stated that 15 Iraqi dinars was to be paid in compensation for each acre of rain-fed farms and 30 dinars per acre for irrigated farms. The Kurdish farmers who did want to give up their farms and obey this decree were threatened with death.

“If someone doesn’t want to regain his land, we will pay him for his land at current market prices,” Abdullah said. “But this order does not include Jalawla and Sadiya as the land of Kurdish farmers is still being occupied.”

According to a chart from the Khanaqin Agricultural Directorate, along the border of Qoratu alone 30,000 acres of irrigated farms and 40,000 acres of rain-fed farms of Kurdish farmers were occupied. That chart also showed that 1,312 imported Arab farmers were brought to use the occupied farms of 800 Kurdish farmers.

Akbar Haidari, a Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) official in Khanaqin, is one of the victims of the occupation. His 600 acres of land is still being occupied.

“In 1975, imported Arabs occupied our land, but after 2003 our friends in the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) took back our land and redistributed it to Kurdish farmers,” Haidari said. “I have decided not to demand my land back as long as it is used by Kurdish people.”

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