Gaza Freedom Flotilla: From The High Seas to the High Court and Beyond

May 31, 2013 at 9:12 am | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment

May 29 2013

Nine activists were killed on the lead ship Mavi Marmara. (Photo: Via Al Jazeera)
Nine activists were killed on the lead ship Mavi Marmara. (Photo: Via Al Jazeera)

By Richard Lightbown

Israel’s raid on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla on 31 May 2010 caused the severance of diplomatic relations with Turkey and spawned legal actions in several countries. Claims in compensation cases in Turkish courts from only 40 victims have already amounted to the equivalent of more than 6 million Euros. Meanwhile the case against four former senior commanders on behalf of 490 plaintiffs is slowly progressing through the 7th High Criminal Court in Istanbul. The prosecution alleges that at the time of the raid Chief of Staff Gavriel Ashkenazi, Naval Forces Commander Eliezar Marom, Head of the Military Intelligence Directorate Amos Yadlin and Air Forces Intelligence Director Avishai Levi jointly and personally “ordered the operation in which war crimes and crimes against humanity are alleged to have been committed”.

The defendants have not attended the hearings and the Israeli government does not recognize the trial. Its position has always been that its commandos were safeguarding their country’s security when they were attacked by terrorists. This spurious narrative has been supported by media misinformation such as Panorama’s false assertion that flotilla members used firearms against the commandos, by a UN Panel (the Palmer Committee) devoid of expertise in international maritime law which presumed to declare the Israeli blockade a legal entity, and by Israel’s official investigation (the Turkel Committee) whose report does not withstand scrutiny. Supporters have also ensured that the Wikipedia entry on the raid is sympathetic to the Israeli narrative.

Having gained the advantage in the common perception of the raid, Israel has still to confront the more serious legal challenges which constitute a nuisance and a problem to its interests. The nuisance is illustrated by the fact that the defendants have not left Israel since the Istanbul trial opened. The problem lies in the fact that Turkish courts are independent of government interference. There is also scope for further charges to be brought against other defendants, including those considered directly responsible for the nine deaths and 156 casualties, 52 of whom suffered serious injury.

To help free Israel of these legal impediments while making minimum concessions to justice, President Obama stage-managed an apology via telephone link from Prime Minister Netanyahu to Prime Minister Erdoğan on 22 March. Without consulting the victims, Mr Erdoğan accepted the apology “on behalf of the people of Turkey”. (It was not thought necessary for Mr Netanyahu to apologize to Mr Obama for the unlawful killing of 19-year-old Furkan Doğan who had sole US citizenship.) However, many Turks were disappointed when it became apparent that their Premier had agreed to immunity from prosecution while accepting that Israel will pay a lump sum into a fund to finance compensation agreed between the governments or awarded by the courts.

Mr Erdoğan had previously said that his requirements for the restoration of diplomatic relations were an apology, compensation for all the victims, and the lifting of the Gaza closure. This was not understood to be a bargaining position, but were minimum requirements for a settlement. Israel has since made it plain by word and deed that its siege of Gaza will continue. The fishing zone has again been unilaterally reduced from six miles to three miles offshore, while last month the sole commercial crossing at Kerem Shalom was closed for 17 days and Erez crossing was also closed for seven days. It was this collective punishment which originally inspired the Freedom Flotilla, and it is only the compliance of the Turkish government (which continues to withhold the requisite maritime permits) which prevents the Mavi Marmara from making a second attempt to break the Gaza blockade.

Nevertheless negotiations between the governments of Israel and Turkey continue apace. In order to facilitate immunity from prosecution it is thought that Article 19 of the Turkish Constitution might be invoked whereby international agreements overrule domestic legislation. But since the Turkish parliament is not allowed to make decisions adversely affecting basic human rights, such legislation could be annulled by the Constitutional Court.

Meanwhile the families of the martyrs along with İHH (the ship’s owners) and lawyers working on the case have publicly declared that any agreement which fails to meet all criteria will be a complete waste of time. They remain steadfast in demanding justice and adequate compensation for all the victims, regardless of nationality. They also reject the apology as inadequate, recalling that in June 2010 Benjamin Netanyahu described the victims of the assault as ‘terrorists’. For this malicious slander they insist that he must personally and publicly apologize. They also demand an unreserved apology for all the Israeli crimes committed during the attack, including willful killing, attempted willful killing, intentionally causing serious injury, plunder, hijacking maritime vessels on the high seas, intentionally causing damage to property, and instigating violent crime.

At its next session on 10 October the Istanbul court is expected to declare the four defendants fugitives from justice, issue binding arrest warrants and ask INTERPOL to issue extradition orders. But Israel’s greatest problems may yet come from The Hague. The scope of jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court (ICC) includes war crimes, and crimes against humanity. Because this incident meets all the criteria of the Rome Statute, the Union of the Comoros (the flag state of the Mavi Marmara) deposited a referral with the Chief Prosecutor of the ICC on 14 May. The Chief Prosecutor announced a preliminary investigation the same day, and a pre-trial chamber will decide whether or not to proceed further. Any investigation accepted by the ICC cannot subsequently be withdrawn but must complete its legal process.

In Istanbul on 31 May a vigil will be held on the Mavi Marmara during which there will be a ceremony of commemoration starting at the time the ship was attacked. Survivors of the voyage recall how prior to that savage act of state terrorism, the members of the 32 nations on board had created a remarkable commonality of humanity which many remember as the best days of their lives. With that as inspiration they are not going to abandon their struggle against abuses of human rights.

– Richard Lightbown contributed this article to

Continue Reading Gaza Freedom Flotilla: From The High Seas to the High Court and Beyond…

Martin Kobler UN Special Representative for Iraq at the EU Parliament in Brussels

May 30, 2013 at 10:12 am | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment
Martin Kobler at EU Parl 29 May 2013 013
 Exchange of views with Martin Kobler at the EU Parliament
Martin Kobler at EU Parl 29 May 2013 016
 ITF EU Representative Dr Hassan Aydinli  speaking with UN Special Representative for Iraq Martin Kobler
On 29 May 2013 the Committee on Foreign Affairs held an exchange of views with Martin Kobler, UN Secretary General’s Special Representative for Iraq. Mr Kobler, expressed serious concerns over the situation in Iraq. After 10 years of a challenging transition to democracy, the country stands at a crossroads and might slide toward escalating sectarian strife if decisive action is not taken. Mr Martin Kobler called for a stronger role of the EU in dealing with the developments in the county.

IRAQI TURKMEN: “We want to recuperate our illegally confiscated lands”

May 28, 2013 at 4:54 pm | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment
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Ali Mehdi – Kirkuk – 28th May 2013


“We want to recuperate our illegally confiscated lands”

We want our land Arazimi istiyorum

Intervention de Gilles Munier – 5ème Conférence des médias turkmènes irakiens – Istanbul 18-19 mai 2013

May 27, 2013 at 4:52 pm | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment
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Turkey 19 May 2013 068 Turkey 19 May 2013 056

Turkey 19 May 2013 062

5ème Conférence des médias turkmènes irakiens

Istanbul 18-19 mai 2013

Intervention de Gilles Munier
Journaliste indépendant, écrivain*
Je remercie les organisateurs de cette conférence de m’avoir invité et donné l’occasion de dire quelques mots.

Je suis Français et connaît assez bien l’Irak pour y avoir effectué environ 150 voyages depuis 1974. J’y ai accompagné des journalistes, des hommes politiques, des universitaires, des hommes d’affaire… J’ai surtout été témoin des malheurs qui se sont abattu sur ce pays : guerre Iran-Irak, 1ère guerre du Golfe, embargo, 2èmeguerre du Golfe… Mon dernier voyage a eu lieu en mars 2003, au cours duquel je me suis rendu à Bagdad et à Mossoul avec une délégation française de spécialistes des armes de destruction massive qui ont dénoncé – preuves à l’appui – les mensonges de George W. Bush et de Tony Blair. J’ai quitté Bagdad la veille du bombardement. Depuis, comme journaliste indépendant, je suis quotidiennement l’actualité de l’occupation du pays – ou de sa double occupation, pour être plus précis – ainsi que les activités de la résistance –  civile ou armée – et, pour revenir un sujet qui nous concerne tous ici : la volonté des dirigeants de la Région autonome du Kurdistan de s’emparer de Kirkouk et de territoires avoisinant gorgés de pétrole, peuplés depuis des siècles par les Turkmènes.

Mon premier passage au Pays des Turkmènes –appelés généralement en France : Turcomans – date de 1976. Membre permanent d’une association franco-arabe qui entretenait alors de bonnes relations avec l’Irak, j’accompagnai un cadre d’une chambre de commerce de Bretagne – région située à l’ouest de la France – qui souhaitait rencontrer les dirigeants de la Région autonome du Kurdistan, nouvellement créée. En visitant Erbil, je n’ai pu que constater que la ville était peuplée, pour une large part, de Turkmènes. J’y suis retourné trois fois ensuite et me suis aperçu que la proportion de Kurdes allait grandissante, ce qui me semblait tout naturel puisque la ville en quelque sorte la capitale du Kurdistan irakien. Je ne savais pas, à l’époque, que Saddam Hussein – alors vice-Président – avait quelques années plus tôt, autorisé Mustapha Barzani à « kurdiser » Erbil et qu’en dépit de la reprise de la rébellion –soutenue par les Etats-Unis et l’Iran de Chah -, c’est ce qui était arrivé sous la direction des partis et tribus kurdes liés au pouvoir central.

Quiconque a traversé, comme moi, les ponts sur l’Altun Su ou l’Aq Su à Altun Kopru ou à Tuz Khurmatu – ouest allé  à Tel Afar – s’est aperçu que les noms de lieux et la langue des habitants de la région sont différents d’ailleurs en Irak, qu’une minorité méconnue – les Turkmènes – est majoritaire dans toute une partie du pays. Depuis la chute de Bagdad et le déclenchement de conflits ethniques et religieux, grâce à Internet – et malheureusement aux attentats et aux massacres dont sont victimes les Irakiens, les médias font parfois mention des Turkmènes– on en sait plus, dans le monde sur les Turkmènes irakiens. En Belgique, l’Association des Amitiés Europe- Turkmènes et le Comité pour la Défense des droits des Turkmènes irakiens a brisé le silence qui entoure trop souvent leur situation. Mais, en Europe, nombreux sont encore ceux qui les assimilent à des colons Turcs installés par l’Empire ottoman. Très peu savent que leur présence est bien antérieure à la prise de Constantinople par les Ottomans.

Dans les années 1970, des intellectuels et des hommes politiques se réunissaient en Europe occidentale pour sensibiliser l’opinion publique au problème kurde. Je dis « problème kurde »,mais en fait exclusivement kurde irakien. Aujourd’hui, les Turkmènes irakiens sont plus de 3 millions – c’est-à-dire à peu près le nombre des habitants du Kurdistan irakien dans les années 1970 – et rien ne les empêche d’en faire autant. Les outils de communication –Internet, Facebook, Twitter, You Tube… etc… – leur faciliteront la tâche et leur permettront d’atteindre sans grands frais beaucoup de monde. Ces outils doivent être utilisés au maximum, c’est-à-dire pas seulement en anglais, en arabe ou en turc. Il ne faut pas oublier le Français, l’Espagnole et le Portugais parlés en Afrique et en Amérique latine.

Pour nous, observateurs de ce qui se passe en Irak, il manque une agence de presse qui rendrait compte de l’actualité à Kirkouk et dans le Pays des Turkmènes. Par exemple, des élections provinciales viennent de se dérouler en Irak, on n’en connaît pas le détail. C’est dommage. Toutes les occasions devraient être bonnes pour parler des Turkmènes.

La Turquie pourrait contribuer – grâce à son expérience dans le domaine des médias – à la diffusion des informations qui nous nous permettraient de mieux informer l’opinion publique dans nos pays respectifs.

Je vous remercie.

* Gilles Munier es l’auteur du Guide de l’Irak(2000) et de Les Espions de l’Or Noir (2005), Gilles Munier collabore au magazine françaisAfrique Asie et anime le blog

Contact :

Amazing opportunity for young Iraqis who wish to start an international career with the United Nations

May 26, 2013 at 1:02 pm | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment
هل أنت حاصل على شهادة جامعية على الأقل؟
هل تبلغ من العمر 32 عاما أو أقل بحلول نهاية العام الجاري؟
هل تتكلم اللغة الانكليزية و/أو الفرنسية بطلاقة؟قدم الآن على برنامج المهنيين الشباب عام 2013 !
مزيد من المعلومات هنا:

Amazing opportunity for young Iraqis who wish to start an international career with the United Nations

Do you hold at least a first-level university degree
Are you 32 or younger by the end of this year
Do you speak either English and/or French fluently

Apply to the 2013 Young Professionals Programme now
More information here:

UN Careers
The United Nations is looking for highly qualified candidates who are ready to launch a professional career as an international civil servant. The young professionals programme (YPP) is a recruitment initiative that brings new talent to the United Nations through an annual entrance exami


May 26, 2013 at 11:06 am | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment


25 MAYIS 2013

Najmadin Karim, the governor of Kirkuk said that a two-week time period has been given to those who are illegally staying in Kirkuk and do not possess a resident permit, according to the governor.

At a press conference organized with security authorities yesterday, Najmadin Karim, the governor of Kirkuk  said that, “We have received numerous complaints from the people of the city regarding those coming from outside of Kirkuk illegally and do not have resident permits, and that is why we have decided to give them the time period of two weeks to leave the city.”

Governor Kerim made an announcement regarding recent events by saying that some persons affiliated with the Ensar El Sünne group had been detained in connection with the explosives and arms attacks which took place in Kirkuk.

Kerim underlined the fact that attacks and acts of violence had escalated recently and that security forces were fully tasked. Kerim announced that two terrorists were killed and one was arrested after they engaged the law enforcement yesterday evening in Tisin region. Kerim emphasized that everything necessary to ensure security in Kirkuk would be done and that works had started regarding a security camera system. Kerim also indicated that the trench digging works within the scope of the security plan would be completed soon at the entry points into Kirkuk.

Kirkuk Deputy Chief of Police General Turan Abdurrahman said that the arrested persons were responsible for the attacks against Turkmen in Kirkuk.

May 26, 2013 at 10:33 am | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment
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Iraq violence kills eight
May 21, 2013


Iraq violence kills eight

Five bombings and clashes between soldiers and gunmen killed eight people in Iraq on Tuesday, officials said, the latest in a spate of violence that has cost more than 370 lives so far this month.

In Tarmiyah, north of Baghdad, clashes between Iraqi soldiers and gunmen and a suicide bombing killed three soldiers and wounded at least seven, security and medical officials said.

Two car bombs exploded in a Turkmen Shiite area of Tuz Khurmatu, a north Iraq town in Salaheddin province, killing three people, wounding 44 and causing extensive damage to 10 houses, police and a doctor said.
And two roadside bombs detonated in a sheep market in the northern city of Kirkuk, killing two people and wounding 25, other officials said. The explosions also killed a number of sheep, seen lying at the site.
Both Tuz Khurmatu and Kirkuk are part of a swathe of territory that Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region wants to incorporate over the strong objections of the federal government — a dispute diplomats and officials say is a major threat to the country’s long-term stability.
Continue Reading …

12 killed in mosque blast in Iraq’s Kirkuk

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

12 killed in mosque blast in Iraq’s Kirkuk

People clean the blast site at a Shiite mosque in Kirkuk, northern Iraq, May 16, 2013. At least 12 people were killed and 25 others injured as a suicide bomber blew himself up at a Shiite mosque in northern Iraq's Kirkuk on Thursday, local police sources said. (Xinhua/Dena Assad)
People clean the blast site at a Shiite mosque in Kirkuk, northern Iraq, May 16, 2013. At least 12 people were killed and 25 others injured as a suicide bomber blew himself up at a Shiite mosque in northern Iraq’s Kirkuk on Thursday, local police sources said. (Xinhua/Dena Assad)
At least 12 people were killed and 25 others injured as a suicide bomber blew himself up at a Shiite mosque in northern Iraq’s Kirkuk on Thursday, local police sources said.The suicide bomber entered the Al Zahraa mosque in Kirkuk, some 250 km north of the Iraqi capital of Baghdad, and then blew himself up, the police sources told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.The explosion also caused damage to the mosque, the sources said, adding that the attack took place as the mosque was holding a funeral for a person who killed in an attack on Wednesday.

Earlier on Thursday, a series of car bombs and a gunfire attacked the Shiite neighborhoods in Baghdad and the northern city of Mosul, leaving at least 11 people dead and some 45 others wounded.

Iraqis in Belgium commemorated the Victims of Mass Graves in Iraq

May 21, 2013 at 11:04 pm | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment
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 His Excellency Ambassador Mohammed Abdullah Al-Humaimidi, Ambassador of the Iraqi Republic in Belgium

with Dr. Hassan Aydinli Iraqi Turkmen Front EU Representative and Merry Fitzgerald

iraqi embassy 20 May 2013 015

On 20th May 2013,  Iraqis living in Belgium commemorated  the Victims of mass graves in Iraq


Below are some of the photos of the mass graves which were displayed

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iraqi embassy 20 May 2013 001

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iraqi embassy 20 May 2013 052

ITF EU Representative Dr Hassan Aydinli was interviewed by Kerbela TV

iraqi embassy 20 May 2013 032

After a speech by His Excellency the Ambassador of Iraq there was a minute of silence to commemorate the martyrs.

photos of the 5th Iraqi Turkmen Media & Press Conference – Istanbul 18-19 MAY 2013

May 21, 2013 at 7:36 pm | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment

5th Iraqi Turkmen Media & Press Conference 


18-19 May  2013

ITF European Union representative Dr. Hassan Aydinli and ITF Turkey representative Dr. Hicran Kazanci at the 5th Iraqi Turkmen Media & Press Conference – Pendik, Istanbul  18-19 May 2013

Photo from left to right: Dr. Barbara Aziz, Dr. Osama Mahdy, Gilles Munier, Nermeen Al-Mufti, Audday El-Katib, Abu Bekir Abdulmajid, Merry Fitzgerald
Kemal Bayatli, Gilles Munier and Dr. Hassan Aydinli
Shokran Kayaci and Dr. Hassan Aydinli
Şemsettin Kuzeci, Merry Fitzgerald, Ganzanfar Paşayev
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