Why Iraq Won’t Solve Its Electricity Problems Any Time Soon

February 28, 2013 at 12:52 am | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment

Why Iraq Won’t Solve Its Electricity Problems Any Time Soon

 by Joel Wing – Musings on Iraq
Iraq has had grand plans for its electricity sector for quite some time. After years of wars and sanctions the power grid is in poor shape and needs billions in investment to provide the public with 24-hours of power. That’s always been hard, because demand has skyrocketed since the 2003 invasion. That hasn’t stopped the Electricity Ministry and leading officials to promise that a solution to the country’s power shortages is just a few years away. An analysis of the industry however, reveals that Iraq is nowhere close to resolving this dilemma, because the task is too large for the skills and funding currently available.

Recently, Iraq’s Electricity Ministry released a 5-year master plan that outlines its goals for the power network. The 5-year plan calls for boosting production to meet demand by 2015. That is to be achieved by rehabilitating and expanding the existing transmission, distribution, and generation system. New power stations are to be built, generators installed, transmission lines laid down, etc. Deputy Prime Minister Hussein Shahristani for example, told the press in mid-February 2013, that three power stations would be opened per month until Iraq’s power struggles were ended.

The Electricity Ministry wants to reach 13,000 megawatts by this summer20,000 megawatts by 2014, and 22,000 megawatts by the end of 2015. It also calls for a seven-fold increase in natural gas supply to fuel all the new power plants. The problem is the Ministry predicated that gas would only meet 50% of requirements within 5-years. That means that heavy fuel will be used, which degrades equipment quicker, reduces production, and raises costs. This has been a chronic problem within the country for years, because the natural gas industry is so underdeveloped. Another issue is that if all the components of the strategy are not met, it cannot reach its goals. That is the larger dilemma that faces Baghdad, and there are no signs that it’s achievable.

For Iraqi women, America’s promise of democracy is anything but liberation

February 27, 2013 at 11:16 am | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment
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For Iraqi women, America’s promise of democracy is anything but liberation

Iraq’s jailers learned their abuses from the allied occupiers. And under today’s sectarian regime, women are under assault

An Iraqi woman walks past a British soldier and military vehicle with a poster of a dollar bill with the Arabic writing: You can get some money, in exchange for some information

An Iraqi woman, in 2008, walks past a British soldier and military
vehicle with a poster of a dollar bill inscribed, in Arabic: ‘You can
get some money, in exchange for some information.
‘ Photograph: Essam al-Sudani/AFP/Getty Images

A decade on from the US-led invasion of Iraq, the destruction caused by foreign

occupation and the subsequent regime has had a massive impact on Iraqis’ daily

life – the most disturbing example of which is violence against women. At the

same time, the sectarian regime’s policy on religious garb is forcing women to

retire their hard-earned rights across the spectrum: employment, freedom of

movement, civil marriage, welfare benefits, and the right to education and

health services.

Instead, they are seeking survival and protection for themselves and their

families. But for many, the violence they face comes from the very institution

that should guarantee their safety: the government. Iraqi regime officials

often echo the same denials of the US-UK occupation authorities, saying that

there are few or no women detainees. An increasing number of international

and Iraqi human rights organizations reports otherwise.

The plight of women detainees was the starting point for the mass protests

that have spread through many Iraqi provinces since 25 December 2012.

Their treatment by the security forces has been a bleeding wound – and

one shrouded in secrecy, especially since 2003. Women have been

routinely detained as hostages – a tactic to force their male loved ones to

surrender to security forces, or confess to crimes ascribed to them.

Banners and placards carried by hundreds of thousands of protesters

portray images of women behind bars pleading for justice.

According to Mohamed al-Dainy, an Iraqi MP, there was

1,053 cases of documented rape (pdf) cases by the occupying troops

and Iraqi forces between 2003 and 2007. Lawyers acting on behalf

of former detainees say that UK detention practices between 2003

and 2008 included unlawful killings, beatings, hooding, sleep

deprivation, forced nudity and sexual humiliation, sometimes

involving women and children. The abuses were endemic, allege

the detainees’ lawyers, arising from the

“systems, management culture and training” of the British military.

These same occupation forces trained Iraqi forces. Abuses often

occurred under the supervision of US commanders, who were

unwilling to intervene, as the Washington Post reported:

“Of all the bloodshed in Iraq, none may be more disturbing than

the campaign of torture and murder being conducted by

US-trained government police forces.”

Continue Reading For Iraqi women, America’s promise of democracy is anything but liberation…

Have Iraq’s Oil Exports Hit a Plateau?

February 26, 2013 at 11:10 am | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment

Have Iraq’s Oil Exports Hit a Plateau?

In January 2013, Iraq’s oil exports went up a fraction from the previous month. The price for a barrel of Iraqi crude did increase by over a dollar however. Still, with disputes between Baghdad and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) over oil contracts, infrastructure bottlenecks, and other issues, it appears as if Iraq’s ability to deliver more petroleum for foreign sales has hit a plateau until some of these problems are resolved.
Oil exports barley changed from January 2013 to December 2012, and was far lower than the amounts seen last year. In January, the Iraqi Oil Ministry reported an average of 2.35 million barrels a day in exports. That was only a small increase from December’s 2.34 million barrels. Both figures were below the 30-year highs seen in 2012. In October and November for example, Iraq hit 2.62 million barrels a day, the highest amount since the 1980s. The south remained the workhorse of the country’s industry, exporting an average of 2.093 million barrels a day last month, up from 2.022 million in December. The flow through the southern pipeline went up despite the Rumaila oil field shutting down for a short period for maintenance work, and bad weather preventing tankers from docking in Basra’s ports. Both of these are routine events, which have a negative affect upon exports. The northern pipeline on the other hand, has seen a three-month decline. In January, 264,500 barrels a day went through the line, down from 325,800 in December. This was due to the Kurds ending exports in the middle of December over disputes with the central government over paying oil companies operating in the north, and more importantly, who has the right to sign oil contracts and sell petroleum. The central and regional governments have signed a series of short-term deals that inevitably break down, which means a steady flow of Kurdish oil through the northern pipeline cannot be counted on until the larger arguments are resolved. The northern line was also blown up in January in Turkey. The Iraqi government blamed the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which is carrying out a campaign against Turkey’s energy field. Finally, 11,000 barrels a day were trucked to Jordan in January. Iraq has seen steady progress in oil production in the last several years. What the country lacks is adequate infrastructure and political agreements to fully exploit that potential. Iraq has plans to address the former, but they are coming along slowly. The differences between Kurdistan and Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki are more enduring, and are unlikely to be solved any time soon. All together that accounts for why exports have plateaued after witnessing record highs last year.
Iraq Oil Exports And Profits 2011-2013
Avg. Price Per Barrel
Revenue (Bill)
Jan. 11
2011 Avg.
Jan. 12
Jan. 13


February 24, 2013 at 11:16 am | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment
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Turkmen martyrs feb 2013

Photos of some of the Turkmen who were killed in the blast at the Husseiniya of Sayid Al-Shuhada in Tuz Khurmatu


By Mofak Salman

Dublin, Ireland

On Wednesday 23rd of January 2013 the Turkmen people, politicians and local officials were gathered at the Husseiniya of Sayid al-Shuhada in the Turkmen district of Tuz Khurmatu (which is located 60km south of the city of Kerkuk and east of the province of Tikrit). The Turkmen were mourning the death of Turkmen citizen, Ahmed Salah Asker who was assassinated in Tuz Khurmatu by terrorists using a silencer gun . [[1]][[2]]

The suicide bomber who was wearing explosives around his waist entered the Husseiniya of Sayid al-Shuhada and he blew himself up in the middle of the funeral, killing over 42 people and wounding 75 others, according to security and medical officials. [[3]][[4]][[5]]

The blast on Wednesday 23rd of January 2013 that struck the Sayid al-Shuhada mosque in Tuz Khurmatu was designed to have a maximum effect by targeting the funeral of a relative of a politician, Ahmed Salah Asker, who was killed a day earlier and who worked at the health sector in Tuz Khurmatu.



Mourners at the funeral of Turkmen citizen Ahmed Salah Asker who was assassinated by terrorists with a silencer gun


Brother of the Turkmen citizen Ahmed Salah Asker who announced  that Turkmen have to protect themselves without depending on the Iraqi government or any other government


Mourners at the funeral of Turkmen citizen Ahmed Salah Asker whose coffin was covered with the Turkmen flag

 The suicide bomber blew himself up in the middle of the mourners and no group claimed responsibility for the attack. This attack came after more than four weeks of anti-government protests in the city of Rumadi.

The deputy chief of the Iraqi Turkmen Front Ali Hashim Muhtaroğlu, a provincial councillor in Salaheddin province Ahmed Abdulwahid Koja and the member of the Kerkuk provincial council, Munir Alqafili were among the injured.

The blast also took the life one of the most prominent and well known writers and poets, Mohammed Mehdi Bayat, who has played an important  role in promoting and reviving the Turkmen literature in Turkmeneli.


The Turkmen poet and writer Mohammed Mehdi Bayat who was killed in the blast at the Husseiniya of Sayid al-Shuhada in Tuz Khurmatu


The blast also took the life of one of the well-known Turkmen poet and writer, Mohammed Ali Kasap, who was born in 1946 in the Turkmen district of Tuz Khurmatu.

Mohammed Ali was profoundly patriotic, he fought for his homeland Turkmeneli with his pen and he published articles in various newspapers, namely in Ak Su and Turkmeneli newspapers.  He had received several rewards for his important work, he continuously stood and fought for the Turkmen cause, revealing the injustice and unfairness toward the Turkmen in Iraq. His death is a great loss for the Turkmen.


Photo: one of his articles that had been published in various newspapers

The funeral was for Ali Hashim Muhtaroğlu’s brother-in-law, who was shot dead in Tuz Khurmatu on Tuesday afternoon. [[6]] The attack caused an outrage among the Turkmen and there was a huge condemnation from the public, political groups and the U.S. government. The deputy of ITF Ali Hashim Muhtaroğlu was injured during the blast.

The Turkish government dispatched an air ambulance from Ankara to transport the injured  to Turkey for treatment.

Following the assault on Jan. 23, Ankara decided to assist with the treatment of the injured that were moved from Tuz Khurmatu to Kirkuk. Turkey sent its air ambulance but Iraqi officials did not allow the plane to land. The Iraqi government claimed that the refusal was due to bad weather conditions.

On the next day, landing permission to air ambulance was once again denied, but this time, with an excuse that a device essential to the landing was damaged. The incident was one of several in a series of recent squabbles between Turkey and the government of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki,  especially after Turkey accommodated the fugitive deputy prime minister Tarik Alhashimi who is wanted by the Iraqi government to face terrorist charges.

As a consequence, the heavily injured people were first taken to Erbil and later transported to Istanbul, Turkey to get medical treatment. [[7]]

No one has been arrested for the blast and no group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

According to many Turkmens the aim of the bombings and assassinations in the district of Tuz Khurmato is to intimidate the Turkmen and force them to leave their home areas. In the eyes of many Turkmen, this is a Kurdish plan to force the Turkmen citizens out of the district of Tuz Khormatu and make this Turkmen district a part of the Kurdistan Region, an idea that the Turkmen totally reject. Turkmen would prefer to remain under the control of the central government in Baghdad.

After the fall of  Saddam Hussein’s regime in 2003, the Turkmen in Iraq have been subjected to ethnic cleansing by the Kurdish militia. They have been subjected to kidnapping, discrimination and assassinations by the central Iraqi government and by the Kurdish Regional Government.

The demography of the Turkmen populated area has been completely altered by Kurdish militia. The Turkmen lands that were confiscated by the government of Saddam Hussein  have not been returned to the Turkmen land owners, on the contrary, more Turkmen lands have been confiscated by the Kurds from outside of the city of Kirkuk.

The Kurdish goal is to annex the city of Kirkuk and attach it to the Kurdish Region as an independent Kurdish State in northern of Iraq would not survive without controlling the oil of Kirkuk.

Since the central government in Baghdad and regional countries surrounding Iraq are failing and helpless to stop the targeting, assimilation, kidnapping and killing of the Turkmen, the only way for the Turkmen to stop Kurdish influence and annexation of Kirkuk and other Turkmen lands to the Kurdish Region is to establish a Turkmen militia to defend the Turkmen and establish a Turkmen Secret Police. Without a Turkmen militia, the Turkmen’s identity will be completely erased and their homeland will be annexed by the Kurds to fulfil their dream and aspiration of establishing a ‘Great Kurdistan’.


[5] Iraq bars Turkish ambulance plane from landing in Kirkuk, 10 February 2013 /MİNHAC ÇELİK, İSTANBUL; http://www.todayszaman.com/news-306636-iraq-bars-turkish-ambulance-plane-from-landing-in-kirkuk.html

[7] Iraq bars Turkish ambulance plane from landing in Kirkuk, 10 February 2013 /MİNHAC ÇELİK, İSTANBUL; http://www.todayszaman.com/news-306636-iraq-bars-turkish-ambulance-plane-from-landing-in-kirkuk.html

[8] http://nakshaat.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=25749#ixzz2ItkICZPq

Mofak Salman is the author of Brief History of Iraqi Turkmen, Turkmen of Iraq, Turkmen city of Tuz Khurmatu and A report into Kurdish Abuse in Turkmeneli


February 21, 2013 at 8:47 pm | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment
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Thursday, February 21, 2013

Iraq Still A Far Deadlier Place Than Afghanistan


Many have tried to compare Iraq and Afghanistan, but the nature of their conflicts are quite different. Afghanistan has a healthy insurgency, and is a mostly rural nation. Iraq on the other hand suffers from high levels of urban terrorism. For five of the last six years casualties in Afghanistan have increased, while Iraq’s have dropped dramatically for three years, and then increased slightly over the last two. Most would think that Afghanistan would suffer from far higher levels of violence, but in fact, Iraq’s militants have been able to take a far deadlier toll. That’s because Iraq’s large cities provide far more targets of opportunity than are available in Afghanistan.
When comparing the number of civilian deaths in the two countries, Iraq has far more than Afghanistan. According to the United Nations, there were 1,523 civilians killed in 2007, 2,118 in 2008, 2,412 in 2009, 2,790 in 2010, peaking at 3,131 in 2011, before dropping to 2,754 in 2012.Iraq Body Count recorded 25,280 deaths in 2007, 9,626 in 2008, 4,967 in 2009, 4,073 in 2010, 4,144 in 2011, and 4,568 in 2012. The numbers cannot be directly compared, because Iraq Body Count includes police fatalities, while the United Nations does not. By going through Iraq Body Count’s individual incident reports, the statistics for civilians killed in Iraq can be discerned. In 2012 for instance, there were 3,717 civilian deaths in Iraq. That was still far higher than the 2,754 seen in Afghanistan that year. The statistics for Iraq are so much higher that it can only be assumed that it is deadlier than Afghanistan. 2011 might be the only year that the two were close, because Iraq had around 1,000 more deaths then, which is roughly how many Iraqi police are killed annually. The reason why Iraq still has far higher death counts is because of the change in tactics taken by the country’s militants. After the civil war ended in 2008, the majority of the public was tired of fighting. That led to many turning on militants, which eventually ended most of the insurgency. The remnants have now increasingly turned to terrorist bombings in an attempt to undermine the government and restart the sectarian conflict. That’s shown in the fact that Iraq Body Count recorded 7.3 people killed per day in suicide or car bombings compared to 5.0 by gunfire in 2012. Iraq provides plenty of targets, because 66% of the population is urban. Afghanistan has a thriving insurgency, but the country is mostly rural. Only 23% of the population lives in cities there. Much of the fighting occurs out in the country and in small towns where the population is more spread out. Overall, there are far fewer opportunities to kill large numbers of people each year in Afghanistan than in Iraq.
Comparison of Deaths In Afghanistan and Iraq 2007-2012
Afghanistan Civilian Deaths
Iraq Civilian & Police Deaths


Iraq and Afghanistan are suffering from different forms of violence. In Afghanistan, the insurgency is mostly fighting the government and Western forces, along with targeting public workers. In Iraq, civilians are the main victims of attacks as militants there are trying to stoke tensions amongst the Shiites to restart the civil war, and have largely given up directly confronting the police and army. Mass casualty bombings occur far more often in Iraq as a result. With large urban populations these acts of terrorism usually take a far higher toll than they do in Afghanistan. That accounts for why Iraq remains a deadlier place than Afghanistan.
CIA, The World Factbook
Iraq Body Count
United Nations Mission in Afghanistan, “Afghanistan civilian casualty figures drop for the first time in 6 years,” 2/19/13

Secret Memo by Donald Rumsfeld Proves Iraq War Started On False Pretenses

February 20, 2013 at 11:54 am | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment

Secret Memo by Donald Rumsfeld Proves Iraq War Started On False Pretenses


Global Research, February 20, 2013






Everyone Knew Iraq Had No WMD … and Was Not Behind Anthrax Attacks or 9/11

Everyone knew that Iraq didn’t have weapons of mass destruction.

Indeed, Secretary of State Colin Powell’s chief of staff – Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson – just said that Powell knew that there were no WMDs:

I wonder what will happen when we put 500,000 troops into Iraq and comb the country from one end to the other and find nothing



Rums Newly Released Memo by Donald Rumsfeld Proves Iraq War Started On False Pretenses


But war is sold just like soda or toothpaste … and so a false justification also needs to be concocted.  George W. BushJohn McCainSarah Palin, a high-level National Security Council officerAlan Greenspan and others all say that the Iraq war was reallyabout oil.

It has been extensively documented that the White House decided to invade Iraq before 9/11:

Indeed, neoconservatives planned regime change .

The government tried to falsely blame the anthrax attacks on Iraq as a justification for war:

When Congress was originally asked to pass the Patriot Act in late 2001, the anthrax attacks which occurred only weeks earlier were falsely blamed on spooky Arabs as a way to scare Congress members into approving the bill. Specifically:

Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, President Bush and VP Cheney all falsely linked Iraq with 9/11 … and the entire torture program was aimed at establishing such a false linkage.

A new book by NBC News and Newsweek investigative reporter Michael Isikoff adds details, including a memo written by Rumsfeld in November 2001 – a year and a quarter   before the start of the Iraq war – asking how to start a war against Iraq, and suggesting as one potential “justification” for war:

US discovers Saddam connection to Sept. 11 attack or to anthrax?

Rums Newly Released Memo by Donald Rumsfeld Proves Iraq War Started On False Pretenses

Here is the whole memo:

1 74bfa9d607 Newly Released Memo by Donald Rumsfeld Proves Iraq War Started On False Pretenses

2 7f74c41013 Newly Released Memo by Donald Rumsfeld Proves Iraq War Started On False Pretenses

3 226040efcf Newly Released Memo by Donald Rumsfeld Proves Iraq War Started On False Pretenses

The Bush administration launched the Iraq war under false pretenses … unfortunately, Obama is no better.




February 15, 2013 at 2:56 pm | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment
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Thursday, February 14, 2013

Pace Of Refugee Returns To Iraq Picked Up In 2012


The number of Iraqi refugees returning to their homes saw a large increase in 2012. This was the second straight year that the number of people coming back went up after taking a large dip in 2010. In fact, four of the last five years has seen an annual return rate of over 200,000 people. The United Nations pointed to the improved security situation, and the money offered by the government as the main reasons why so many have decided to move. That ignored the most obvious motivation, which was the conflict next door in Syria, the country with the largest number of Iraqi expatriates in the world. Whatever the reason, the trend is for more and more people to take the path back to Iraq, which could mean in time the nation’s huge refugee problem could one day be resolved.
Iraqi refugees at UNHCR offices in Syria, 2010 (U.N.)
Almost two million displaced Iraqis have made the decision to return since 2003. In 2012, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) recorded 301,060 people making the trip back. In 2011, 260,690 came back. That was more than double the rate for 2010 when only 118,890 made the trip due to uncertainty over national elections that occurred that year. Before that 204,830 returned in 2009, 221,260 in 2008, while there was a large drop in 2007 with only 81,420 coming back. That last year was when violence increased in the country due to the American Surge. 2008 saw the end of the civil war, which accounts for why four of the last five years has seen 200,000 plus returnees per annum. In total, from 2003 to 2012, 1,859,966 displaced and refugees have come back to their homes. The most common figures for the total number of Iraqi refugees is 2.5 million, and 2.7 million displaced, although some believe there might be far fewer. If those statistics are accurate, just over one-third have since reversed course and come back. With the current trend there appears little reason to believe that in a decade or so most of the displaced and refugees might return as well. Despite the terrorist attacks, security in Iraq is rather stable, the booming oil industry is pumping in large amounts of money into the economy, both of which mean the majority of people have returned to their normal lives, and are looking for opportunities. That gives ample reasons enough for displacement to eventually end.
Overall Returns 2003-2012
2003: Displaced 0, Refugees 55,429, Total 55,429
2004: Displaced 98,000, Refugees 193,997, Total 291,997
2005: Displaced 98,000, Refugees 56,155, Total 154,155
2006: Displaced 150,000, Refugees 20,235, Total 170,235
2007: Displaced 36,000 Refugees 45,420, Total 81,420
2008: Displaced 195,890, Refugees 25,370, Total 221,260
2009: Displaced 167,740, Refugees 37,090, Total 204,830
2010: Displaced 92,480, Refugees 26,410, Total 118,890
2011: Displaced 193,610, Refugees 67,080, Total 260,690
2012: Displaced 216,160, Refugees 84,900, Total 301,060
TOTAL: 1,859,966

European Parliament’s visit to Iraq cancelled

February 14, 2013 at 12:44 pm | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment

European Parliament’s visit to Iraq cancelled

By Roger Alan, Brussels / Hussein Ali, Baghdad – Ararat news – 14.2.2013 – Baghdad / Brussels, – An official visit of the European Parliament (EP) to Iraq which was set for this week has been cancelled by the European Parliament due to unwillingness of the Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki’s Government to receive the EP delegation.


The EU Mission to Iraq had to take place from 11th to 15th February 2013 with a programme including meetings with officials in the Iraqi capital Bagdad and in Erbil, the capital of Kurdistan Region.

Sources around Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki in Baghdad told that the Iraqi government was notified about this visit through its embassy in Brussels months before. However, the officials from the European Parliament were surprised to found out that just one week before the visit there was no meeting that had been arranged. The decision for cancelling the visit has been taken by the European Parliament’s Conference of Presidents of all the political groups after noting that there was no desire from the Iraqi government to receive them.

According to the same sources in Baghdad and in Brussels, the Maliki government was fearful that the European Parliament would discuss several issues such as the failure of the government to secure basic needs for the people, the high corruption in the government, ongoing conflict with the Federal Kurdistan Region (KRG), the growing Iranian influence under Maliki’s rule and the involvement in the Syrian conflict on the side of the Syrian regime.

The EU Mission to Iraq had to take place from 11th to 15th February 2013 with a programme including meetings with officials in the Iraqi capital Bagdad and in Erbil, the capital of Kurdistan Region. Earlier, in 2010 another planned delegation of the EP to Iraq has also been cancelled.


The security of Kirkuk and the stability of the region are interdependent, Dr Hicran Kazanci

February 14, 2013 at 2:10 am | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment
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Dr. Hicran Kazancı/Iraqi Turkmen Front Turkey Representative:

The security of Kirkuk and the stability of the region are interdependent.


Iraq is a federal state according to the Constitution of 2003 consisting mainly of Arabs, Kurds and Turkmen. In terms of population, the Kurds are the second element in overall Iraq and the first element in the northern part. The Turkmen are the third element in overall Iraq and the second largest population in the north. Actually the Kurdistan territory has existed ever since Iraq was established. Nowadays on entrance to the North Iraqi region passports are stamped with the Iraqi Kurdistan stamp; there are armed (peshmerge) forces also. We are faced with a de facto state structure. The Kurds which are the second largest overall element gained various rights. Us Turkmen who are the second largest group in northern Iraq want to have the same rights. The way to realize this is through a robust dialogue between the Turkmen and the Kurds.

The recent economic developments in Northern Iraq contribute to the democratization of the political process. In the past Kurds with radical dispositions demanded that the territory up to the HemrinMountains be Kurdistan. However, today the Kurdish politicians refrain from radical statements such as “this territory belong only to my people”; they make positive contributions which enhance the desire of Kurds, Turkmen and Christian groups to coexist in the region. What actually happened in contradiction with North Iraq is that after the Americans withdrew, the will to coexist diminished rapidly among the various groups in the center of Iraq, the increasing political instability and policies based on ethnicity have caused Baghdad to separate into ghettoes. At the moment the Shiite cannot enter Sunni areas while the Sunni are unable to enter Shiite territory. Another significant factor which blocked the political process is the distribution of the ministries among ethnic groups. If Iraq is experiencing a problem with division at the moment it is not because the Kurds in the north or the Shiites in the south want to separate, it is caused by the attitude of “I know best” of a dictator in the headquarters who denies all others the right to exist. If the Arbil Consensus prepared in December of 2010 had been applied there would be no political crisis in Iraq today. However, unfortunately the problems in Iraq are deepened with the efforts to obliterate a multicultural society which has coexisted in Iraq since the Ottoman Empire.

After the withdrawal of US troops there were problems between the central government and Haşimi which were followed the crises between Baghdad-Arbil. Finally there was an armed conflict in Kirkuk. It is reported that an understanding has been reached, however the details of the understanding have not been disclosed. Today there is a danger that the sectoral conflict in Iraq turns into an ethnic conflict. Let us not forget the incidents which took place in Kirkuk where the majority of the Turkmen live. The Turkmen become open targets since they are unarmed. The most vulnerable element in a crisis is the Turkmen element.

Now it is possible to ensure stability within Iraq and among the countries in the region through Kirkuk. The security of Kirkuk and the stability of the region are interdependent. The first priority for the security of Kirkuk is the withdrawal of the military forces. We recommended that an army or police force which is proportional to the demographic size of the groups of Kurds, Turkmen and Arabs living in Kirkuk be established. It seems that a consensus has been reached in this matter but we shall see what happens in the future. The Kirkuk crisis revealed that the Turkmen have a key role in the stability of the region. In order to resolve the existing problems between Kirkuk and Arbil us Turkmen are obliged to have good relations with the administrations of Arbil and Baghdad. For Turkmen Ankara, Arbil and Baghdad are three indispensable centers. We are obliged to establish good relations and contribute to the relations among these three.

Looking at the past ten years, Turkey has become a model country in the region in terms of the reforms it has realized in the field of internal and external policies. The AK Party highlighted both the Islam element and institutionalized modernization and democratization and started to structure a more liberal and democratic Turkey. Before 2003 black propaganda was made that Turkey intended to annex the territory to its own. However, nowadays the soft power of Turkey which covers a scope extending from economy to training has demolished these prejudices. The actors in Iraq are aware of the peaceful role played by Turkey; there is a great sympathy for Turkey among the people. In fact the people believe that Turkey is the only neighboring country without a hidden agenda and that Turkey is in favor of stability in Iraq instead of terror.

On the other hand, the matter of the PKK and the Kurdish issue should be kept separated in Turkey. The steps which have been taken regarding the Kurdish issue during the past ten years are commendable. International and regional actors who are bothered by the rising image of Turkey use PKK, the thorn in the side of Turkey to irritate Turkey. It would certainly be wrong to reflect the acts of these actors onto all the Kurds. Let us remember that there were efforts to identify Islam with terror after the 11 September attack. Even the U.S.A. became aware that Islam was in no way related to terror because of Turkey. For this reason similarly to the great mistake which was made when Islam was identified with terror, it would also be a great mistake to identify Barzani with terror today, PKK and IBKY or Northern Iraqi Kurds. This would also damage the dialogue between Turkmen and Kurds.

The good relations continuing between Ankara and Arbil and the rising image of Turkey in the region has a strategic significance in terms of increasing the cooperation between Kurds and Turkmen. The population of Turkmen in the region may be less numerically than the Kurdish population, however, it must not be forgotten that the political weight of our population is dependent on the “weight” of Turkey in the region. While the countries in the region observe political tension, it is very important for Turkmen that Turkey is in favor of stability. The fact that Davutoğlu visited Kirkuk and Arbil and established good relations gives positive messages in terms of the will of Turkmen and Kurds to resolve problems together. The Turkish consulate opened in Arbil is particularly important for Turkmen. This means that the rights of Turkmen are guaranteed. At first Ankara was uncertain in this matter. In fact Barzani is a political actor who is addressed by the world and there are 19 foreign representations in Arbil today. If Turkey had not taken its place it would have been occupied by others. What Turkey says about the Sunni in Iraq is also valid for the IBKY Turkmen: “If you remain outside the political equation in Iraq then you cannot defend your rights. Enter politics and defend your rights to the hilt!”

In the meantime, Barzani being invited to the AK Party Congress, Davutoğlu’s Arbil visit have a critical and positive meaning for Kurdish and Turkmen dialogue. At the moment there are 5 Turkmen in the Kurdistan Regional Parliament. There are statements indicating that in the upcoming elections this number will increase and that the Vice Presidency Office of Kurdistan will be given to the Turkmen. We will see the final picture after the elections. Finally, if the Turkmen which are the second element after the Kurds in Northern Iraq gain the rights which have been granted to the Kurds there will be no tension between these nations. For this reason the continuity of dialogue between the parties and Turkey’s distance to both parties is extremely important.

On the other hand Talabani is a symbol in Iraqi politics and his occupation of the presidential post is significant in terms of political balance. Talabani’s exclusion from this equation would not only have an impact on Iraq it would have an impact on numerous regional balances. The reason for this is that due to both his Kurdish as well as his diplomatic identity Talabani is able to establish multiple alliances simultaneously not only in Iraq but in the Middle East as well. For example by taking the interests of his own people into consideration his relations with Turkey, Iran and the United States as well as the countries in the region are very good. However, although they cannot replace Talabani the Kurds also have cadres who are as capable as he is to execute the works.


Iraqi Kurdistan: Free Speech Under Attack

February 11, 2013 at 11:48 am | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment
Iraqi Kurdistan: Free Speech Under Attack
Government Critics, Journalists Arbitrarily Detained, Prosecuted for Criticizing Authorities
FEBRUARY 10, 2013
  •  These are dark days for freedom of expression in Iraq’s Kurdistan region. Instead of ensuring the justice system investigates high-level corruption, the Kurdistan Regional Government is ignoring its own laws to protect free speech and assembly, and using “laws” that are not in force to silence dissent.

Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director

(Baghdad) – Iraq‘s semi-autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) should stop arbitrarily detaining journalists, activists, and political opposition figures, and end its prosecution of journalists for insulting or defaming public figures. The Asayish – the Kurdistan Security Agency – and police arrested without warrants journalists and others who published articles criticizing public officials, and detained them without charge or trial for periods ranging from several weeks to a year.

In what appears to be a blatant violation of the rule of law, officials in the Ministry of Justice and Ministry of Endowments and Religious Affairs have sought to enforce a proposed law criminalizing “insult” against religious and political leaders, even though the legal and human rights committees of the Kurdish parliament have so far blocked the law’s enactment. If passed, the law would be a serious violation of basic free speech standards in the Kurdistan Region, Human Rights Watch said, and could prevent investigative journalism and disclosures about high level corruption in the oil rich region.

“These are dark days for freedom of expression in Iraq’s Kurdistan region,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch.Instead of ensuring the justice system investigates high-level corruption, the Kurdistan Regional Government is ignoring its own laws to protect free speech and assembly, and using “laws” that are not in force to silence dissent.”

During 2012, KRG security forces are reported to have arrested and detained at least 50 journalists, critics, and opposition political activists arbitrarily, and prosecuted at least seven of them on criminal charges concerning insulting or defaming public figures, according to information obtained by Human Rights Watch during six visits to the Kurdistan Region, the most recent in November and December. One former customs official, Akram Abdulkarim, has been in jail for more than a year without trial on national security charges after he accused leading members of the Kurdistan Democratic Party, one of the two parties in the coalition that rules the Kurdistan Region, of siphoning off customs revenues.

In November and December, Human Rights Watch interviewed 16 journalists, political activists, and others arrested since the beginning of 2012, after criticizing regional government authorities. The authorities released some without charge after a period in detention but successfully prosecuted others on defamation or insult charges, resulting in fines and prison sentences. One, lawyer Zana Fatah, said police detained him without charge for six days at a prison in Chamchamel in October, after he wrote an article accusing the judiciary of lacking independence from the main political parties. The police accused him of defaming the judges but did not charge him with any offense.

Human Rights Watch expressed its concern about the crackdown on free speech in meetings in November with officials of the regional government’s Department of Foreign Relations and the Asayish. In response, one official said that, “Talk of corruption cannot be tolerated.” Officials said that detained journalists were liars and were “violating the human rights of the government,” in one official’s words.

Continue Reading Iraqi Kurdistan: Free Speech Under Attack…

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