IRAQI TURKMEN : UNPO Expert Speech At European Parliament Hearing

November 30, 2013 at 5:01 pm | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment
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UNPO Expert Speech On Iraqi Turkmen At European Parliament Hearing

Expert Speech before the DROI and D-IQ
UNPO General Secretary, Marino Busdachin
European Parliament
27 November 2013
hearing on Iraqi Turkmen at EU Parl on 27 NOV 2013
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MEP Barbara Lochbihler, President of Sub-committee Human Rights
MEP Struan Stevenson, President Delegation with Iraq
Mr. Marino Busdachin, Secretary General of UNPO
The hearing was co-chaired by Mrs. Barbara Lochbihler and Mr. Struan Stevenson
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ITF EU Representative Dr Hassan Aydinli and the President of Sub-Committee Human Rights MEP Barbara Lochbihler

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From left to right: MEP Tunne Kelam, ITF EU Representative Dr Hassan Aydinli and Vice-President Sub-Committee Human Rights

MEP Metin Kazak

UNPO EXPERT SPEECH ON IRAQI TURKMEN AT EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT HEARING

UNPO General Secretary, Mr. Marino Busdachin, was invited to deliver an expert speech in the European Parliament on the current situation of ethnic and religious minorities in Iraq, with a specific focus on the plight of the Iraqi Turkmen. The hearing is an initiative of the Subcommittee on Human Rights and the Delegation for Relations with Iraq. 
 
Speech by Mr. Busdachin: 

I would first and foremost like to thank the Delegation for Relations with Iraq and the Human Rights Subcommittee for inviting the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization, once again, to provide an update on the situation of human rights and minorities in Iraq. I was asked to put special emphasis on the situation of the Iraqi Turkmen, as their situation at the moment is indeed very precarious and in need of targeted assistance.

The Iraqi Turkmen are the third largest group in Iraq, with estimates of around 3 million people. They are concentrated mainly in the northern part of Iraq and in the Autonomous Kurdish Region. The largest compactly settled group of Iraqi Turkmen lives in the so called “disputed territories”, notably in the city and province of Kirkuk, considered as their capital. Sparring between Iraq’s central government in Baghdad and the Kurdistan Region Government (KRG) in Erbil is frequent, particularly with regard to the country’s oil and gas rich disputed territories, notably Kirkuk.

The Turkmen of Iraq, together with other vulnerable ethnic and religious components, continue to face disproportionate risks to their lives, cultural traditions, and property. An instable political and security situation, targeted violence based on racial, ethnic, religious or gender bias, de jure and de facto discrimination, and a lack of institutional support and protection at most levels of government, have caused several from minority groups to urgently leave Iraq. Is this a form of ethnic cleansing?
 

The Iraqi Constitution of 2005 sets a satisfactory framework in terms of minority protection and recognizing the multinational component of the country – specifically anti-discrimination and cultural provisions. However, Iraq is lacking laws and infrastructure to effectively implement these provisions.

The continued insecurity Iraqi Turkmen are facing, even after the new Constitution entered into force, takes gruesome proportions: teachers being tortured and burnt alive, a terrorist attack targeting a tent full of mourners for a man who himself was assassinated by terrorists, suicide bombings and abductions, and many other incidents inciting fear are, sadly enough, commonplace for the Turkmen.

In early November 2013, at least 4 explosions took place injuring several people in Kirkuk. On 8 November 2013, the Turkmen poet Jasim Muhemed Ferej Tuzlu was found killed after a 24 hour kidnapping. On 17 November 2013, three suicide bombers and 12 roadside bombs ripped through Tuz-Khurmato, leaving 21 dead and 40 wounded. Last Sunday, on 24 November 2013, 3 people were killed and 20 people were wounded when a car bomb exploded at a police checkpoint in Telafer. In the same day, 12 people were killed and over 75 were wounded in a suicide attack on a mosque yet again in the Tuz-Khurmato area.

Physical security is not the only matter of concern for the Turkmen population in Iraq, but also their lack of economic security, which has in many cases forced them to flee from their land. Confiscation of land was one of the major features of the assimilation policies of the Ba’ath regime. The total surface area of the lands confiscated in the Kirkuk region was 357 million square meters, of which about 80% was Turkmen-owned. In spite of property legislation demanding the return of seized lands, very little Turkmen land has been restored and very few Turkmen have been compensated for these confiscated lands. Currently, there are more than 41 thousand complaints registered with the Property Claims Commission of Kirkuk. Of these complaints, only 7.7% of the cases have been decided. Similar to this is the case of Beshir village, in which the Turkmen families were victims of deportation and confiscation of land. Despite handling their complaints together before the Property Claims Commission in 2005, the Iraqi authorities have not yet responded.

In November 2013, the administration of Kirkuk Province, in cooperation with its Security Forces, used violent methods to repress the Turkalan villagers’ protests against the illegal appropriation of a great part of their agricultural land for the installation of a sewage project. The Iraqi government illegally confiscated 332 acres of the village, despite the objection of the land owners who had obtained a Court decision to halt the project. As a consequence of the events, 5 young villagers were arrested. In an attempt to boycott the coverage of the incidents during the protests, Special Forces confiscated television cameras and mobile phones containing footage of the event.


In 2011, in a previous DROI hearing held in the European Parliament on the Iraqi Turkmen, UNPO
 stated that there were no measures in place to address the Turkmen insecurity. I am profoundly disappointed to have to reiterate what I said 2 years ago. The situation for the Iraqi Turkmen did not change for the better at all, despite the European Parliament’s resolutions from 14 March 2013 and 10 October 2013 on the plight of the Turkmen, in which it expressed its deep concern at the increasing acts of violence against them and called the Iraqi authorities to improve the security and combat terrorism.

It is important to note that the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement EU-Iraq, signed on 11 May 2012, provides a basis for legislative cooperation alongside the trade provisions. Despite Lady Catherine Ashton’s statement, on 18 June 2013, condemning the wave of attacks in Iraq and encouraging all political forces to create a common front against all forms of violence, the situation has remained the same. The same statement mentions that Lady Ashton also signed an agreement providing Iraq with the amount of 4 million Euros of EU funding to create an Energy Centre. Why is this agreement mainly ignoring the legislative cooperation that will help the Iraqi state to develop the ‘so-needed’ legislation to implement the Constitutional provisions and International treaties?

This week, the UN SC issued a statement on the violence in Iraq, stressing the need to bring those responsible for the violence to justice and called on Governments to cooperate with Iraqi authorities to hold the perpetrators to account. This is a welcoming step to put an end to this conflict, but clearly much more needs to be done. Long term hostilities and conflicts between ethnic and religious groups in Iraq are deteriorating the political system, which is largely based on ethnic and religious divisions. This is in my opinion, a recipe for disaster in a country with mixed ethno-religious populations. A democratic system securing ethnic and religious rights and sanctioning discrimination is the only peaceful solution for the Turkmen and other ethnic minorities in Iraq.

International obligations and measures must be taken to ensure that the age-old tolerance and coexistence, which made Iraq a unique place in the Middle East, is not lost forever.
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Background documents
– Expert Speech by Marino Busdachin

Time was then given to speakers from the floor wishing to comment. Mr. Metin KazakMEP, had prepared questions for the EEAS – which will be answered to in writing because of a lack of time during the session. Nevertheless, he took the opportunity to emphasize the importance of assisting the Turkmen minority of Iraq as they are “the most vulnerable and in the worst situation”, victims of kidnappings and torture.

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For further background information on the Iraqi Turkmen, click on the image below,
The Turkmen Reality in Iraq UNPO
TURKMEN BRIEFING NOTE
 
The Turkmen Reality in Iraq
Introduction

The Iraqi Turkmen are a minority of just under 3 million, predominantly present in the Iraqi provinces of Mosul, Erbil, Kirkuk, Salahaddin and Diyal, Baghdad and Wasit. They represent the third largest ethnic group in Iraq (13% of the population).

Kirkuk is considered by the Turkmen as their capital city. This area, within the ‘Turkmen’ region of Iraq, produces nearly 70% of the Iraqi petroleum and 2.2% of the world’s.

They are primarily politically represented by The Iraqi Turkmen Front (ITF).This organization includes all Turkmen parties and movements such as the INTP (Iraqi National Turkmen Party); the Turkmeneli Party (TP) ; the Adalet party (AP); the Islamic Movement of Iraqi Turkmens (IMIT); and the Independents Movement. It also includes the Turkmen Nationalist Movement (TNM), the Turkmen Wafa Movement, and the Islamic Union of Iraqi Turkmens (IUIT).

Historical Background 

Originating from Central Asia, the Turkmen are descendants of the Oghuz tribes. The decline of their influence first began after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire.

Throughout the 1920’s both Turkmen and Kurd minorities resisted British authority and the Hejazi Hashemite monarchy, and as a result the cultural rights of Turkmen communities were gradually eroded. In the 1930s a rapid demographic change produced ethnic tension, and Turkmen communities began to feel the effects of marginalisation.

Violence continued to escalate until 1959, when communist and separatist militias massacred Turkmen leaders along with hundreds of Turkmens in the city of Kerkuk. Tensions were later exacerbated even further with the establishment of Ba’ath Party rule in 1968. The 1970s where in fact characterised by other breaches of Turkmen human rights such as the ‘Arabisation of Kirkuk’ in 1971, and by their discrimination through employment opportunities, unfair dismissals, deliberate measures to worsen their living conditions, forced displacement and deportation, and interference with their right of ownership.

After seizing power in 1979, Saddam Hussein’s regime instigated a campaign of intensive “Arabisation”, systematically expelling the Turkmen, instead promoting the resettlement of the Arab population. This period of persecution effectively destroyed Turkmen civil society, forcing many of its political institutions underground or into exile abroad.

Unfortunately, despite the regime change in Iraq in 2003, the Turkmen tragedy continues. Many Iraqi Turkmen communities believe that their historical presence and influence has remained marginalised during the process of reconstructing the Iraqi state, and that more has to be done to correct the past injustices they have suffered.

Led and founded by Dr. Muzaffer Arslan, who also represents the Iraqi Turkmen in UNPO.

And also suppression and intensive assimilation policies, forced cultural erosion that ranged from political persecution and exile, to terror, massacres and ethnic cleansing. (Large numbers of Turkmen intellectuals were accused of political activities and disappeared after their arrest during the Baathist regime; nothing has been heard of them since.)

Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization • www. unpo.org • +32 25 13 14 59 • unpo.brussels@unpo.org

Briefing Note 

November 2013

Social and Economic Issues 

The confiscation of land (‘Land Grabbing’) was one of the major features of the assimilation policies of the Ba’ath regime.

The village of Beshir, situated South West of Kirkuk city, presents a perfect case study of the consequences of such policies. The inhabitants of Beshir were landowners and farmers, whose ancestors had settled in the area several centuries ago. During the Ottoman rule, Beshir’s inhabitants officially registered their lands in their names, and were issued official land property certificates, which they renewed in 1921.

In the early 1980s, after the start of the Iraq-Iran war, Iraqi security forces arrested and executed hundreds of intellectuals from the village, accusing them of being activists in the outlawed Islamic Da’wa Party. In 1986, while the young men of Beshir were fighting in the war against Iran, their families were given 48 hours to pack their personal effects and leave their homes.

Houses were razed to the ground and agricultural lands were confiscated, to be later given to Arabs brought by the Ba’ath regime. Each Arab family was given 10.000 Iraqi Dinars in cash as an incentive to build their house on Turkmen lands, while the Turkmen families received no compensation.

Meanwhile the former regime had arabised the name of the village calling it “Al-Bashir” instead of Beshir.

In 2003 when the U.S. military occupied northern Iraq, they did not take control of the area around Beshir and the Arabs which had been installed there by the previous regime remained in the village. The original Turkmen inhabitants of Beshir started to return, demanding their lands. However, the property dispute remained unsettled.

Nearly a decade has passed since this ‘agreement’ and the Arabs still refuse to leave Beshir. The original Turkmen families ofBeshir who were victims of deportation, in 2005 handed their complaints together with copies of their deeds to the Property Claims Commission in order to retrieve their confiscated lands and be compensated for the destruction of their houses and for their loss of earnings since 1986, but the Iraqi authorities have not yet responded.

In the Kerkuk province, 80% of the land was Turkmen-owned. In spite of property legislation demanding the return of seized lands, there are currently still 41,874 complaints registered with the local Property Claims Commission.

Of these complaints, only 3,236 cases have been decided. Since 2005 therefore, approximately only 2.000 out of 45.000 files belonging to Turkmens have been processed. This fact alone stands as evidence of discrimination against the Turkmens.

Security Challenges 

It remains challenging to illustrate the extent to which the Turkmen community in Iraq has been exposed to ethnic cleansing for decades without having been attended to by the international community. Permanently fears of explosive power struggles lurk, particularly over the control of the ‘powder-keg’ city of Kirkuk. These only serve to further place the minority in a precarious position.

The Tal Afer district of Iraq was attacked twice by helicopters, tanks and tens of thousands of soldiers in 2004 and, a year later, in 2005, 1,350 were left dead and 2,650 were wounded. In December 2007, a suicide bombing in Kirkuk shook its residents and stoked security fears, killing at least 55, and injuring another 120. On 17 December 2012, the bodies of two abducted teachers were found near the Humera village (which is located 35km south of Kirkuk) both carrying signs of torture and bullets. The death of these two individuals generated deep reactions among the Turkmen, as in the view of many the two teachers were killed for sectarian reasons and only for being Turkmen. In January 2013, a crowded tent full of Turkmen mourners in Tuz Khurmato was transformed into a mass killing ground by a suicide bombing with genocidal intent, that left at least 35 people dead and 117 wounded.

Due to a media emphasis on the Iraqi Kurdish minority, Western perspectives of realities in Northern Iraq have become slightly distorted. As an example, human rights violations against the Kurds have often been highlighted, while violations committed against other communities in the region have largely been ignored.

On 14 March 2013, the European Parliament adopted a Resolution (welcomed by the UNPO) on the plight of minority groups in Iraq, and specifically the Iraqi Turkmen. The resolution states that the European Parliament condemns the recent attacks on the Turkmen community and affirms that ‘despite the reference in the Constitution.

VIOLATIONS OF THE HUMAN RIGHTS OF THE IRAQI TURKMEN

November 26, 2013 at 2:40 pm | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment
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VIOLATIONS OF THE HUMAN RIGHTS OF THE IRAQI TURKMEN


Summary of violations of the human rights of the Iraqi Turkmen
 from 2011 until November 2013
Statistics prepared by the Human Rights Bureau of
the Iraqi Turkmen Front
Assassinations, Kidnaps,Killed by explosions and Injured by explosions
Notes
total
11/2013
2012
2011
Type of violations
Statistics of the Human Rights bureau of the Iraqi Turkmen Front note that the period for the preparation of Turkmen kidnapped approximate due to non-registration of the families of the kidnapped suits at police stations, fearing for the fate of their sons kidnapped
84
25
46
13
Assassinations
40
14
12
14
Kidnaps
328
256
61
11
Killed by explosions
1761
1323
329
109
Injured by explosions
Arrested, displaced,sentenced to prison and to death for political reasons
Notes
No.
Type of violations
Approximate number taken from prisoners
300
Arrests in the detention centers of local administration in northern Iraq
Approximate number
1,200
Prisoners In the prisons of the central government
Approximate number, some of the families were returned
20,000
Internally displaced
Approximate number according to the IMO
250,000
Flee out of Iraq
Taken from government Martyrs foundation
700
Hanged by Baath regime
Taken from government Martyrs foundation
1,050
Sentenced by Baath regime
Property Claim Commission
The figures were taken from the Property Claims Commission
Total
No. of cases
Region
58.742
11,268
Kerkuk 1
Presented Cases
14,159
Kerkuk 2
17,620
Taze /Bashir
1,933
Daquq
4,870
TuzKhurmatu
8,892
Nineva
The figures were taken from the Property Claims Commission
Total
No. of cases
Region
17,873
3,352
Kerkuk 1
Resolved cases
13,811
Kerkuk 2
257
Taze/ Bashir
375
Daquq
178
TuzKhurmatu
5,733
Nineva

NO END TO THE TARGETING OF TURKMENS IN NORTHERN IRAQ.

November 24, 2013 at 1:40 pm | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment
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Turkmen ruban noir

NO END TO THE TARGETING OF TURKMENS IN NORTHERN IRAQ.


Yesterday, Saturday 24th November 2013, Turkmens were once more victims of terror attacks in the Turkmen cities of Tuz Khurmatu and Telafer in Northern Iraq.

At least 12 people were killed and over 75 were wounded in a suicide attack on a mosque in Tuz Khurmatu. 

In Telafer at least 3 people were killed and 20 people were wounded when a car bomb exploded at a police checkpoint.

The Ambassador of the Republic of Turkmenistan to the Kingdom of Belgium invited ITF EU representative to a reception at Le Palais des Colonies on the occasion of the 22nd Anniversary of the Independence of the Republic of Turkmenistan

November 23, 2013 at 5:22 am | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment
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The Ambassador of the Republic of Turkmenistan to the Kingdom of Belgium invited ITF EU representative to a reception at Le Palais des Colonies on the occasion of the 22nd Anniversary of the Independence of the Republic of Turkmenistan

 
The Ambassador of the Republic of Turkmenistan to the Kingdom of Belgium Mr. Kakadjan Mommadov
welcoming ITF EU representative Dr Hassan Aydinli
 
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On the occasion of the 22nd Anniversary of the Independence of 
the Republic of TURKMENISTAN 
Ambassador of Turkmenistan 
to the Kingdom of Belgium, 
Head of Mission of Turkmenistan to EU and NATO
Mr.Kakadjan Mommadov and Mrs. Maya Mommadova
invited ITF EU representative Dr. Hassan Aydinli 
at a reception at Le Palais des Colonies, Tervuren, on 22nd November 2013.


ITF EU Representative and the Ambassador of the Republic of Turkmenistan


Mr. Ihor Dolhov, Ambassador of Ukraine to Belgium, Head of Mission of Ukraine to NATO,
 Mr. Fatih Ceylan Büyükelçi NATO Nezdinde Türkiye Daimi Temsilcisi
and Dr. Hassan Aydinli, ITF EU Representative
 
Mrs. Maya Mommadova
 
The Ambassador of the Republic of Uzbekistan to the Kingdom of Belgium and his spouse
 
DÜTAP (DÜNYA TÜRKLERİ AVRUPA PLATFORMU) members with the
Ambassador of the Republic of Turkmenistan Mr.Kakadjan Mommadov
 
Palais des Colonies, Tervuren.
 

The reception was attended by diplomats from several countries, by representatives and members of several cultural organizations and associations, and by many businessmen and businesswomen based in Belgium.

There was also an interesting exhibition of beautiful Turkmen artefacts, costumes, carpets and jewellery, which was organised by Niderlandlardaky Türkmen Balh Dostlary (Stichting Balh Turkmenen in Nederland).

 
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UNPO URGENT APPEAL – The European Parliament Must Pressure the Iraqi Government To Adequately Protect the Turkmen From Kidnappings, Land Confiscation and Assimilation

November 15, 2013 at 2:14 pm | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment
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UNPO URGENT APPEAL – The European Parliament Must Pressure the Iraqi Government To Adequately Protect the Turkmen From Kidnappings, Land Confiscation and Assimilation

November 14, 2013

UNPO URGENT APPEAL – The European Parliament Must Pressure the Iraqi Government To Adequately Protect the Turkmen From Kidnappings, Land Confiscation and Assimilation

Brussels, 14 November 2013 – The Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO) calls on the European Parliament to urge the government of Iraq to put security measures into place to protect the Turkmen community in Northern Iraq as a matter of urgency.

On Sunday 3 November 2013, the administration of Kirkuk Province, in Northern Iraq, in cooperation with the Security Forces of the province, used violent methods against the population of the village of Turkalan. These measures were used to repress the villager’s protests against the illegal appropriation of a great part of their agricultural land. The Iraqi government illegally confiscated 332 acres of the village agricultural land, despite the objection of the land owners who had obtained a Court decision to halt the project.

The Governor of the province, in cooperation with the Head of Police force in Kirkuk, General Jamal Tahir Bakr and the heavily armed forces of Kirkuk Emergency Police together with the District Police Force in Kirkuk tried to take over the lands by force. As a consequence of the events, 5 young villagers, 4 farmers and one student were arrested. In an attempt to boycott the coverage of the incidents during the protests, Special Forces confiscated television cameras and mobile phones containing footage of the event.

On the days following these occurrences, at least 4 explosions took place injuring several people. On Friday 8 November 2013, the Turkmen poet Jasim Muhemed Ferej Tuzlu was found killed after 24 hours of being kidnapped. These incidents have only heightened anxiety amongst the Turkmens, who, having already been subjected to obvious discrimination and frequent assimilation policies, are now facing further insecurity.

In light of the European Parliament’s resolution of 12 March 2013 on the plight of the Iraqi Turkmen, and Lady Catherine Ashton’s statement of 18 June 2013, to encourage the addressing of political and governance issues in Iraq through dialogue, UNPO calls on the European Parliament to exert further pressure on the Iraqi Government. It must comply with Court decisions to halt land confiscations and guarantee the implementation of the country’s Constitution, ensuring the protection of the Iraqi Turkmen and other vulnerable communities. Violence continues to escalate dangerously, and there is a looming threat that if no action is taken, these vicious attacks might trigger an even greater civil conflict.

Attached Documents
Iraqi Turkmen Appeal
(pdf, 0.2 MB)

http://www.unpo.org/article/16585

Turkish FM: ‘Peace in Middle East depends on peace in Iraq’

November 11, 2013 at 8:23 pm | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment
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Davutoglu received representatives of the Turkmen community in Iraq at the Turkish embassy.

11 NOVEMBER 2013

The Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu spoke of Turkey’s willingness to contribute to the stabilization process in Iraq.

World Bulletin / News Desk
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu met with several top officials on the first day of his visit to Iraq on Sunday, where he said that peace in the Middle East depended on peace in Iraq, adding that “Turkey is a country that can contribute the most to the reconstruction period in Iraq and is ready to cooperate with the Iraqi government.”
Davutoglu embarked on a two-day visit to Iraqi capital Baghdad on Sunday, meeting with Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki, Vice President Khodair al-Khozaei, Deputy PM Saleh al-Mutlaq, Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari, as well as a number of religious authorities on the first day of his visit.
In his meeting with Ammar al-Hakim, head of the Islamic Supre

me Council of Iraq, Davutoglu expressed his pleasure over visiting Iraq during Muharram, the first month of the Islamic calendar. Davutoglu said that he and al-Hakim shared their opinions on how to cooparate to end the secterian violence in the country.
Stressing Turkey’s relationship with Iraq, he said, “Turkey has brought three main messages. First of all, the relations must be improved at the highest level and comprehensively without being affected by any development. Secondly, there will be elections on April 30 in Iraq. The elections are like a vaccine against the virus for the communities. However, the events turned to be gangrene due to the lack of elections in our region. The elections are important not only for Iraq but for the all region. The third message is Syria. Iraq is like a small Middle East. Peace in the Middle East depends on peace Iraq. If there will be peace in Iraq, there will be peace also in the Middle East.”
The Turkish FM also visited Al-Kadhimiya Mosque and came together with Saleh Al-Haidari, the head of Iraq’s Shiite charity organization, before meeting with al-Haidari’s Sunni counterpart Abdulgafur El-Samarrai. At the end of the day, Davutoglu received representatives of the Turkmen minority in Iraq at the Turkish embassy.
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu met Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the highest Shiite authority in Iraq, in Najaf on Monday within the scope of his two-day visit to Iraq.
Speaking to the press after the meeting, the Turkish FM stated that sectarian violence in Iraq must come to an end as soon as possible.
“I brought the salutations of 76 million people to al-Sistani,“ said Davutoglu, calling the Shiite leader`s significance a “global“ one.
The meeting, which was aimed at overcoming tensions in Islamic world, referring the Sunni-Shiite conflict and how Muslims could unite with the blessing of holy month of Muharram, was closed to the press and lasted over an hour.

Mr. Erşat Hürmüzlü, Senior Advisor to the President of the Republic of Turkey Mr. Abdullah Gül and Dr. Hassan Aydinli, ITF EU representative

November 11, 2013 at 1:21 pm | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment
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Mr. Erşat Hürmüzlü, Senior Advisor to the President of the Republic of Turkey Mr. Abdullah Gül
and Dr. Hassan Aydinli, ITF EU representative
 in Brussels – 10th Nov 2013

ITF EU Representative Dr Hassan Aydinli met with Minister Brigitte Grouwels and her political advisors in Brussels

November 9, 2013 at 3:03 pm | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment
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ITF EU Representative and Minister Brigitte Grouwels
Mr Kenan Daggün, DÜTAP Genel Baskani, Dr. Hassan Aydinli and Minister Brigitte Grouwels, Government of Brussels-Capital Region
Mr. Jos Leysen, Political Advisor of Minister Brigitte Grouwels and Dr Hassan Aydinli
Ms. Nebahat Acar, Staff Member at Minister Brigitte Grouwels’ Office and Dr. Hassan Aydinli
ITF EU Representative Dr Hassan Aydinli, Member of DÜNYA TÜRKLERİ AVRUPA PLATFORMU (DÜTAP) was invited by Minister Brigitte Grouwels to a reception at her Office in Brussels on 7th November 2013.
Minister Brigitte Grouwels, invited the members of  DÜNYA TÜRKLERİ AVRUPA PLATFORMU (DÜTAP)

to thank them for their participation in the event “MOSAIK multi-cultural festivities” she organized in the Belgian capital on 28th September 2013.

ITF EU representative, who had met with Minister Brigitte Grouwels on two previous occasions, updated her about the problems the Turkmens continue to encounter in Iraq. The Minister listened with interest and promised she would inform the members of her party (CD&V) and her colleagues at the Belgian government about the discriminations Turkmens continue to face in Iraq despite the regime change in 2003.

Dr Aydinli also informed Mr. Jos Leysen, Advisor to Minister Grouwels, about the situation of the Turkmens in Iraq.

ITF EU representative Dr. Hassan Aydinli met with UNPO Program Manager Ms Maud Van Walleghem

November 8, 2013 at 4:01 pm | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment
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Ms Maud Van Walleghem, Unrepresented Nations and Peoples (UNPO) Program Manager, Dr. Hassan Aydinli, Iraqi Turkmen Front (ITF) EU representative and Ms Diana Pamias of UNPO.

During the meeting which was held at UNPO’s Brussels office, Dr. Hassan Aydinli updated Ms Maud Van Walleghem and Ms Pamias on the situation of the Turkmens in Iraq.

Ms. Van Walleghem will transmit the information given by Dr. Aydinli to UNPO’s Secretary General Mr. Marino Busdachin.

ORSAM New Topic in Iraq: Disputes on the Presidency and its Impact on Politics

November 5, 2013 at 11:04 am | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment
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ORSAM New Topic in Iraq: Disputes on the Presidency and its Impact on Politics
New Topic in Iraq: Disputes on the Presidency and its Impact on Politics
Bilgay Duman, ORSAM Middle East Specialist

Speaker of Iraq’s Council of Representatives Usama al-Nujayfi has stated that the vacant seat of Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, who has been away from his post due to serious health problems, cannot remain unfilled.

Following his statement, a new topic of debate arose in Iraq, which is heading towards the electoral process and where disputes on electoral law still prevail. Al-Nujayfi asserted that a new president must be elected if Talabani cannot continue in the position.

Disputes on the presidency: In Iraq, political positions are assigned according to ethnicity and sect or religion, as they are in Lebanon. The post-2003 Iraqi president was Kurdish, the prime minister was Shiite and the speaker of the parliament was Sunni, both in the administrations formed by the US and in the elected government. As a matter of fact, the balance between these authorities has been maintained, and two deputy positions have also been assigned for each authority. Thus, while one of the deputies of the Kurdish president was Shiite, the other was Sunni; one of the deputies of the Shiite prime minister was Sunni, and the other was Kurdish; similarly, while one of the deputies of the Sunni speaker of parliament was Kurdish, the other was Shiite.

However, demands and suggestions not to give the presidential post to a Kurd were raised due to the possibility that Talabani might not maintain his position as president after suffering a stroke in December 2012 and the problematic relations between the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and Iraq’s central government. It appears that both Shiite and Sunni Arabs in Iraq took a stand that the new president should be of Arab origin. What is really at issue is not only an Arab taking the presidential post, but that Sunni Arabs desire the position because Vice President Tariq al-Hashimi is abroad due to the murder accusations against him. On the other hand, Shiite Arabs, the majority of the country’s population, seek to take the presidential post as well. However, it might be asserted that certain nationalist Shiite Arabs lean towards the idea of a Sunni Arab president in the absence of a Shiite Arab president since Iraq is a country with a majority Arab population.

Disputes on leadership in the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK): If Talabani leaves his post as president, the existing leadership disputes within the PUK, of which Talabani is leader, will worsen. PUK is currently split within itself. The distance and competition within the PUK between Kosrat Rasul Ali, Hero Talabani, Barham Salih and Molla Bahtiyar have become especially clear. It is expected that PUK will hold a congress to elect a new leader in the near future.

Disputes on candidacy in Kurdish internal politics: If Talabani does leave his presidential position, a dispute on the choice of a presidential candidate will probably add to disputes in Kurdish politics over whether a Kurdish candidate will hold the presidential post. Talabani was elected president in accordance with the agreement between the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) of Massoud Barzani, president of Iraq’s autonomous Kurdistan region, and PUK.

The competition within PUK which might occur in the post-Talabani period may damage the presidential alliance between the KDP and PUK. On the other hand, the Islamist parties and especially the Goran Movement, which are against the KDP-PUK coalition in the KRG, would also like to have a voice in the selection of a presidential candidate. In that case, several presidential candidates could appear among the Kurds, and there might be disagreement on the subject.

Impacts on Kurdish internal politics: The uncertainty which will arise in a post-Talabani PUK would have a negative impact also on the internal politics of the KRG. This situation might be a setback for the formation of a government after the elections which will be held in the KRG on Sept. 21, 2013. According to a strategic agreement signed between the KDP and PUK in 2004, both parties will alternately head the KRG government for two years. During the post-2013 political process in the KRG, PUK was in power for only two years, while the KDP was in power for eight years. However, after the elections of 2013, PUK’s ranking as the third party after Goran, as well as the competition within PUK, may have damaged the KDP-PUK coalition. Even though KDP officials state that the coalition with PUK will continue, considering the number of deputies in the Goran Movement and Islamist parties, it appears that the new government will have a structure different from that of the KDP-PUK coalition. In that case, a broad-based government including all political parties will probably be formed as in the central government of Iraq.

Impacts on local politics: Developments taking place in a post-Talabani PUK would have significant effects on the areas under PUK control. More clearly, there might be some changes in local politics in Kirkuk, where PUK has a much bigger influence than the KDP and in Sulaymaniyah, which is controlled by PUK. As a result of the split within PUK, different areas of control might appear under PUK leaders in Sulaymaniyah and Kirkuk. Furthermore, PUK’s loss of integrated power after a split within the party might lead to the expansion of other parties’ areas. The Goran Movement’s power and area of influence especially might increase in Sulaymaniyah and more importantly, PUK’s loss of power would be an advantage for the KDP, which seeks to increase its dominance in Kirkuk. In that case, the KDP could possibly move against PUK.

In conclusion, if it is understood that Talabani can no longer hold the presidential post, it is possible that this situation will lead to some major changes in the internal politics of Iraq, the KRG and PUK. These changes could create new dynamics, and these dynamics could create new conflicts and crisis points. It might be expected that these crises and conflicting interests will even have an impact on foreign politics.

4 November 2013

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