Ethnic cleansing of the Turkmens, Iraq’s Third Main Ethnic Community

July 12, 2014 at 9:45 pm | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment
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THE ETHNIC CLEANSING OF IRAQ’S THIRD MAIN ETHNIC COMMUNITY: 

THE TURKMENS

There are over 350.000 internally displaced Turkmens in Iraq since June 2014, they fled from their cities and villages which were attacked by ISIS (the Islamic State of Iraq and Sham) in June, many were killed and wounded. 

After attacking  and occupying Mosul city on 9th June 2014, ISIS attacked Tel Afer, the largest Turkmen city in the province of Mosul.

When ISIS moved to the Turkmen inhabited region of  Kirkuk, Salaheddin and Diyala provinces, they attacked the Turkmen towns and villages situated in these provinces: Bashir, Biravceli, Bastamli, Chardaghli, Kara Tepe, Salman Pak, Jalawla and several villages belonging to the Turkmen Bayat tribes.

Please click on the link below to read the S.O.S. AND URGENT APPEAL FROM THE IRAQI TURKMENS TO THE UNITED NATIONS FOR THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A SAFE HAVEN FOR THE TURKMENS IN THE NORTH OF IRAQ

http://turkmenfriendship.blogspot.be/2014/07/appeal-from-iraqi-turkmen-front-to.html

 

MAP OF IRAQ ( THE REGION INHABITED BY TURKMENS ‘Turkmeneli’ IS INDICATED IN BLUE)

map_of_turkmeneli

 THE TURKMENS’ VOICES HAVE ALWAYS BEEN STIFLED IN IRAQ
The history of the Turkmens in Iraq is one of continuous sufferings since the establishment of the Iraqi State in 1921.
Turkmens should be amongst the wealthiest people on earth,  their region Turkmeneli,
is rich in oil, gas, and their agricultural lands are very fertile.
Unfortunately their region continues to be coveted by Arabs and Kurds.

Turkmens do not have armed militias, they are an easy target.

 The dramatic situation of the internally displaced Turkmens

The Internally Displaced Turkmens in Iraq will never be able to return to their cities and villages which are now de facto occupied and controlled by ISIS and/or by their Sunni Arab allies, or by the  Kurdish Peshmerga.

The Turkmens who are transferred to the south of Iraq will be arabised while those who remain in the north of Iraq will be kurdified.

The Kurds, taking advantage of the weakness of the Iraqi government,  advanced their forces beyond the Kurdish autonomous region. Kurdish Peshmerga forces are now de facto occupying the Turkmen region in the north of Iraq (called TURKMENELI)  they control almost all Turkmen cities and towns in the four provinces in the north of Iraq (Mosul, Kirkuk, Salaheddin and Diyala).  

The majority of Sunni Arabs in the north of Iraq support ISIS, they did not try to resist when ISIS attacked Mosul.

Turkmen IDPs have lost everything, their houses were looted after they were forced to flee to save their lives. They are now homeless and landless.

 Photos of  Turkmens in Iraq  fleeing their cities and villages after being attacked by ISIS (in June 2014).

Turkmen refugees 8

 

Turkmen refugees 4

telafer refugees2

TURKMEN IDPs

 Trying to protect themselves from the scorching heat

Turkmens fleeing from Telafer

Photo above: Turkmens fleeing from Tel Afer (a Turkmen city in the north west of Iraq) under heavy shelling by ISIS

Turkmen refugees truck

Turkmens were taken to transit camps by trucks

Hereunder, photos taken at one of the Transit camps (situated in the Kurdish Autonomous Region – Baharka camp, 10 km from Erbil city)

Turkmen IDs in warehouse Erbil

11th July, 2014 -BAHARKA Transit Camp : After waiting for several days in the scorching heat, with hardly any water and food, 5.000 Internally Displaced Turkmens arriving from Tel Afer (a Turkmen city in the north west of Iraq) were finally allowed to enter Erbil.

They are now in Baharka Transit Camp (10 km north of Erbil ) which is an old warehouse. But their ordeal is far from over, the living conditions there are appalling. The place is very dirty, very hot (48°C) and there is no sanitation infrastructure and no medical help.

Almost all of the IDPs had to stop several times before arriving to Baharka , with on average each IDP family stopping 5 times.

Over half of the IDPs relying on their own savings to meet their basic needs reported that it would last only one week. The remaining  reported that they had no means to support their families.

UNHCR help has not yet reached these IDPs.

Iraqi Turkmen Front (ITF) Executive Board Members Messrs Ali Mehdi and Aydin Maruf, and ITF Erbil  representative Mr. Dilsat Terzi, delivered some humanitarian assistance to the IDPs.

The Turkish Relief Organization UKBA (Uluslararasi Kardeşlik Banş ve Ahlak Vakfi) International Brotherhood, Peace and Moral Foundation, also provided assistance to the IDPs.

There is an urgent need for baby milk and diapers. There are not enough mattresses. Many people are sleeping on the floor outside the warehouse. Children are suffering from diarrhoea and dehydration.

The Internally Displaced   Turkmens of this Transit camp near Erbil are waiting to be flown to  NAJAF in the South of Iraq.

More IDPs are on their way to this Transit camp…

We had reports today that 13 IDPs, including children,  have died between Mosul and Erbil because of lack of food and water.

 

Turkmen refugee father and baby

 A father trying to cool his baby (babies are the first to suffer from dehydration in this temperature of  48°C).

Turkmen ids 6

 The whereabouts of many Turkmen IDPs is still  unknown.

 Note: According to a report from  OCHA (United Nations OFFICE FOR THE COORDINATION OF HUMANITARIAN AFFAIRS), Iraq is now contending with one of the largest internally displaced populations in the world; over 1.2 million have been displaced since January 2014. Since the fall of Mosul on 9th June 2014, armed opposition groups (AOGs), including Baathists, tribal militias and members of the former regime/military, along with the Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (ISIS), have taken control of large swathes of Iraq’s provinces.

 

Turkmen refugee children water

Water being delivered by the Turkmen community of Erbil  to the Turkmen children (of Tel Afer) at Camp Baharka  near Erbil – Apart from two Turkish Aid Agencies and the Iraqi Turkmen Front, no one is providing humanitarian help to the poor IDPs.

 

Turkmen refugee, mother with sick child

 

Turkmen refugees in Iraq 6

Exhausted Turkmen IDPs trying to find a place in the shade (Temperature in June, July and August reaches 50°C in Iraq)

Turkmen refugee 10

An employee of a Turkish Humanitairian Aid Agency trying to comfort an exhausted refugee.

Hereunder : URGENT APPEAL FROM THE IRAQI TURKMENS’ EU REPRESENTATIVE ADDRESSED TO THE UNITED NATIONS 

irak-turkmen-cephesi1

IRAQI TURKMEN FRONT

European Representation

Brussels-Belgium

 

For the urgent attention of The Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mr. Ban Ki-moon

S.O.S. AND URGENT APPEAL FROM THE IRAQI TURKMENS TO THE UNITED NATIONS FOR THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A SAFE HAVEN FOR TURKMENS IN THE NORTH OF IRAQ.

 

Your Excellency,

 

As the representative of the Iraqi Turkmen front in the European Union and on behalf of the Iraqi Turkmens, who constitute  Iraq’s  third largest ethnic group and one of the three  main communities forming  the backbone of the Iraqi people with the Arabs and Kurds, I am writing to you in order to bring to your attention the grave situation the Turkmens are facing in the north of Iraq after the attacks and the invasion of Mosul city by the terrorist organization ‘ISIS’(the Islamic State of Iraq and Sham) on the 9th of June 2014.

 

Since then, the terrorist organization ISIS has multiplied its attacks and extended its invasion to the north of Iraq rapidly because of the unexpected and astonishing sudden withdrawal of the Iraqi army divisions from their positions in the four provinces in the north of Iraq (Mosul, Kirkuk, Salaheddin and Diyala), leaving a vacuum and facilitating the partial occupation of these provinces by ISIS and by the Kurdish Peshmerga.

 

Indeed, the Kurdish Peshmerga, either in prior agreement with the terrorist organization  ISIS or opportunistically taking advantage of the present weakness of the Iraqi government forces in the north of Iraq, have quickly advanced their forces beyond the Kurdish autonomous region to occupy and control the so-called ‘contested territories’ in the provinces of  Kirkuk, Mosul, Salaheddin and Diyala. The Kurdish Peshmerga forces are now de facto occupying almost all the Turkmen region in the north of Iraq (Türkmeneli) and controlling almost all Turkmen cities and towns in these four provinces.

 

After occupying Mosul city, ISIS attacked Telafer, the largest Turkmen city in the province of Mosul, killing over one hundred Turkmens and wounding several hundreds of them, 200.000 Turkmen inhabitants of Telafer, mainly women, children and elderly people fled the city under heavy shelling. These defenceless people are facing huge difficulties to find shelter, water and food, they are in the desert under scorching heat. Some of them have been denied entry to the Kurdish region where they were seeking refuge.

 

ISIS after establishing its control on Mosul moved forward to the south and took control of Tikrit, the capital of the Salaheddin province and of the town of Hawija, the largest Sunni Arab town in Kirkuk province where they took control without any resistance neither from the central government forces nor from the local authorities because of the sudden withdrawal of the Iraqi army divisions from their positions in these provinces as mentioned earlier.

 

After controlling Tikrit and Hawija , ISIS  moved to the Turkmen region of Kirkuk, Salaheddin and Diyala provinces and attacked the Turkmen towns and villages situated  in these provinces such as Bashir, Biravceli, Bastamli,  Chardaghli, Kara Naz, Kara Tepe, Salman Pak, Jalawla and several villages belonging to the Turkmen Bayat tribes.

 

In each of these Turkmen localities ISIS has committed crimes against humanity, torturing, raping, kidnapping young girls, looting Turkmens’ properties and mass killing indiscriminately women, men and children.

 

The Turkmens in Iraq have been betrayed by the Iraqi government who assured them that the Iraqi army would protect the Turkmens in the entire Turkmen region in the north of Iraq.

 

The 12th division of the Iraqi army which was supposed to defend and protect Kirkuk province, unexpectedly abandoned its position, leaving all its weapons and equipment behind.

 

The Kurdish Peshmerga took over the area and confiscated the weapons which were abandoned by the Iraqi army. The Peshmerga were supposed to protect and defend Kirkuk province from ISIS attacks.

 

Unfortunately, when ISIS encircled and attacked the village of Beshir (situated some 30 km south west of Kirkuk)  the Peshmerga forces abandoned their position around Beshir, leaving the poorly armed Turkmen inhabitants on their own to defend their village. They resisted as long as they could until they ran out of ammunition.  ISIS conquered the village and the inhabitants fled, but unfortunately not all of them succeeded.  Dozens of people were killed, more than 30 were wounded and a large number of them are still missing, they are either dead or still trapped inside the village.

 

ISIS has committed the same crimes in the Turkmen locality of Biravceli, in Salaheddin province, where they killed 23 defenceless Turkmens, most of them women and children.

 

The above are just a few examples of what is happening to the unarmed and unprotected Turkmens in  their towns, cities and villages in the north of Iraq.

 

Since 2003, Turkmens have been continuously targeted and attacked. They have been killed, wounded, kidnapped for ransom, their properties have been looted or burned and their political leaders have been assassinated.

 

In view of the above, it is clear that the survival of the Turkmen community in Iraq is at stake. They are facing ethnic cleansing and a potential genocide in the present day troubled situation of the country.

 

Therefore, Iraqi Turkmens urge the General Secretary of the United Nations to do his utmost to come to the help of the Turkmens to protect them by providing a safe haven for them in the north of Iraq, similar to the safe haven the UN provided for the Kurds of Iraq from 1991 to 2003.

 

Furthermore, Turkmens urge the United Nations to bring the criminals from ISIS as well as those responsible in the Iraqi central government and local authorities in these provinces who betrayed the Turkmens by leaving them without defence and protection to the International Criminal Court to be judged.

 

Yours respectfully,

Dr. Hassan Aydinli

Iraqi Turkmen Front EU representative

Brussels, 21st June 2014.

 

 

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