700 ethnic Turkmen massacred in Iraq in July

August 29, 2014 at 2:36 am | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment
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700 ethnic Turkmen massacred in Iraq

700 ethnic Turkmen massacred in Iraq

UNICEF’s Iraq representative Marco Babille said 700 Turkmen civilians were killed by the Islamic State in July.

World Bulletin / News Desk

Militants belonging to the self-styled ‘Islamic State’ have massacred 700 Turkmen civilians, including women, children and the elderly, in a northern Iraqi village, a UNICEF official has reported.

Marco Babille, the United Nations children’s fund representative in Iraq, said on Tuesday that militants committed the atrocity in Beshir between July 11 and 12.

Speaking to Italian news agency ANSA, he said the information came from eye witnesses who had fled the village.

Across the area seized by IS in June, episodes of violence against children have quadrupled when compared to previous months, he added.

Babille voiced UNICEF’s concern for the safety of thousands of other predominantly Shiite Turkmen civilians besieged by IS forces in the town of Amirli, Salahuddin province.

Calling for a “humanitarian D-Day” for the 700,000 refugees estimated to have fled IS violence in northern Iraq, Babille said the international community should establish a “safe haven” protected by peace-keeping forces.

“There is too much prevarication by the international community. If there is no intervention we risk the disintegration of the Middle East and Europe… will pay the consequences.”

Women and children among massacred Iraqi Turkmen

August 28, 2014 at 3:11 pm | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment
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Women and children among massacred Iraqi Turkmen

27 August 2014

Extremists belonging to the Islamic State have massacred 700 Turkmen civilians, including women, children and the elderly, in a northern Iraqi village, a UNICEF official has reported.

Marco Babille, the United Nations children’s fund representative in Iraq, said on Tuesday that militants committed the atrocity in Beshir between July 11 and 12.

Speaking to Italian news agency ANSA, he said the information came from eye witnesses who had fled the village.

Across the area seized by IS in June, episodes of violence against children have quadrupled when compared to previous months, he added.

Babille voiced UNICEF’s concern for the safety of thousands of other predominantly Shiite Turkmen civilians besieged by IS forces in the town of Amirli, Salahuddin province.

Calling for a “humanitarian D-Day” for the 700,000 refugees estimated to have fled IS violence in northern Iraq, Babille said the international community should establish a “safe haven” protected by peace-keeping forces.

He also called for a “systematic air bridge from Europe” to help Iraqi Kurds, who he described as “the only bulwark of human rights” in Iraq, giving shelter to displaced people irrespective of ethnicity or faith.

Babille reported that 440,000 refugees had flooded into Iraq’s Kurdish region since IS’s June offensive, in addition to 250,000 Syrian refugees who have been in the region since August 2013.

“In all, Kurdistan is hosting 700,000 refugees with a population of less than 5 million,” he said.

“There is too much prevarication by the international community. If there is no intervention we risk the disintegration of the Middle East and Europe… will pay the consequences.”

27 August 2014



Iraqi Turkmen in Danger, Rescue Amerli!

August 27, 2014 at 4:42 pm | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment
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العربية في اسفل الرسالة



Iraqi Turkmen in Danger, Rescue Amerli!

August 26, 2014

More than 16.000 civilians are trapped in the area of Amerli, in Tuz Khormatoo District of Salahaddin Province. Daaesh (ISIS) fighters put Amerli under siege and threaten to enter at any moment. Iraqi civilians from the Turkmen minority are in urgent need of protection.

Urgent call by the Iraqi Civil Society Solidarity Initiative (ICSSI)

Risks are increasing for the inhabitants of Amerli, besieged from all sides by the extremist fighters of DAAESH. Despite the resistance organized by people of the city and the security forces stationed there to stop the terrorist fighters, the risk that these will enter the city is concrete. If DAAESH enters Amerli, mass murder and enslavement of civilians are likely to happen, likewise in other areas inhabited by Iraqi minorities in the last weeks.

Amerli is part of Tuz Khormato District (90 km East of Tikrit) and has been experiencing a three-months long siege, since DAAESH militants started controlling large parts of Salahaddin Province, and after they took control of Mosul (405 km North of Baghdad) in June 2014. In Amerli, Iraqis from different backgrounds live together. The majority of them are from the Turkmen minority, a large section of them are Muslim and follow the Shia doctrine (Al-Madhab Al-Jaafari).

Institutions are aware about what is at stake there. A number of Iraqi politicians and journalists organized a pause of silence last week in the buildings of the Iraqi Parliament and called for the rescue of Amerli. Civil society campaigns are spreading through social networks, calling on the Iraqi government and the international community to provide protection for this city. As the third month of siege begins, fears of supply shortages of food, water, fuel, medical supplies and other essential items are increasing. The suffering of the city is intense also due to the large number of children who still live there: there could be up to 250 babies in need of milk and water. A number of children have been forced to carry arms to defend the city and are being exposed to high risks, due to the absence of protection.

According to “Tareeq Alshaab Newspaper”, the Rapporteur of the Iraqi House of Representatives, Mr. Niazi Oghlu, defined as “historical” the responsibility of the Iraqi Parliament and Government to protect the citizens of Tuz and Amerli. He asked them to instruct immediately an urgent military operation, in coordination with the Peshmerga forces, in order to save these citizens from death. Oghlu added that “the siege and attacks on the city led to the aggravation of the humanitarian situation and the death of children, women and elderly people” and urged for “stopping daily shelling by militants of DAAESH”. Oghlu was surprised by “the international and regional silence over the suffering of the Turkmen in this area, given the ethnic and sectarian cleansing that is taking place”.

In a press statement issued by the UN Assistance Mission in Iraq, the UN envoy for Iraq Mr. Mladenov confirmed that people are surviving in desperate conditions and urged “the Iraqi Government to do all it can to relieve the siege and to ensure that the residents receive lifesaving humanitarian assistance or are evacuated in a dignified manner”. Observers explain that the only way to get aid to the city now is by helicopters, which are arriving every day loaded with food and medical aid, but they say that this aid is not sufficient for the needs of people there.

The director of the District in which Amerli is located, Adel Shakour Al-Bayati, told “Al-Madaa Press” that the whole district is suffering due to the siege. Its effects began to show clearly on 15.000 people, many of whom are children and women, who are running out of white oil for cooking and food, electricity and drinking water. Al-Bayati called the international community to give attention to the steadfast Turkmen in Amerli, similarly to what they did with other minorities who are exposed to crimes by DAAESH, asserting that “the people of Amerli are ready to die, fighting for the day in which the siege will be lifted, without desecration of their land by terrorists”.

The Iraqi Civil Society Solidarity Initiative calls for the Iraqi government to provide urgent and effective protection for the besieged city, in coordination with local authorities, and not to put civilians at risk of direct military confrontation with the extremists. ICSSI demands immediate action by the international community to help the Iraqi government and Kurdistan Regional Government of Iraq in protecting the city of Amerli and Turkmen people in Iraq.

التركمان العراقيين في خطر ، انقذوا آمرلي

26  من شهر آب (اغسطس)2014

ما يزيد عن ستة عشر الف محاصر من المدنيين في ناحية امرلي التابعة لقضاء طوزخورماتو في محافظة صلاح الدين. داعش تحيط بالناحية وتهدد بدخولها في أي لحظة. المدنيون العراقيون من الاقلية التركمانية  بحاجة لحماية عاجلة.

مبادة التضامن مع المجتمع المدني العراقي (ICSSI)

تتعاظم المخاطر المحيطة بناحية آمرلي المحاصرة من كل الجهات بمقاتلين متطرفين من تنظيم داعش الارهابي. وبالرغم من مقاومة ابناء المدينة وقوة الامن المتواجدة هناك للمسلحين لغرض صدهم عن دخول المدينة لكن خطر دخول المدينة مايزال قائم. وفي حال تمكن المسلحين من دخول المدينة فمن المرجح حصول قتل جماعي واستعباد للمدنيين على غرار ماشهدته مناطق عراقية اخرى يسكنها الاقليات اثر دخول المتطرفين لها.

وناحية آمرلي جزء من في قضاء طوز خورماتو،(90 كم شرق تكريت)، وتشهد حصاراً منذ حوالي ثلاثة اشهرين، ومنذ ان  سيطر مسلحي داعش، على اجزاء كبيرة من محافظة صلاح الدين، وبعد أن استولوا بشكل كامل على مدينة الموصل (405 كم شمال بغداد) في العاشر من حزيران 2014ويسكن هذه المدينة الصغيرة عراقيين من خلفيات مختلفة و غالبيتهم من التركمان وهم اقلية يدين قسم كبير منهم بالديانة المسلمة ويتبعون المذهب الجعفري.

هذا وقد نظم عدد من السياسيين والصحفيين العراقيين الاسبوع الماضي وقفة داخل ابنية مجلس النواب العراقي وطالبوا فيها بانقاذ ناحية آمرلي.

كما تتزايد الحملات الاجتماعية عبر شبكات التواصل المجتمعي لمطالبة الحكومة العراقية والمجتمع الدولي بتوفير الحماية لهذه المدينة.  ومع دخول الحصار على هذه المدينة شهره الثالث، تزداد المخاوف ايضا من نقص الامدادات مثل الطعام والمياه ومواد الطاقة والمواد الطبية ومواد اساسية اخرى. ويزيد من معاناة المدينة وجود عدد كبير من الاطفال قد يصل الى 250 طفل بحاجة للحليب والمياه. كما حمل عدد من اطفال المدينة السلاح دفاع عن المدينة مما يهدد بتعرضهم لخطر كبير وذلك نتيجة لغياب الحماية الفاعلة.

ووفقا لصحيفة “طريق الشعب” فان  مقرر رئيس مجلس النواب العراقي السيد نيازي اوغلو حمل مجلس النواب والحكومة العراقية مسؤولية وصفها “بالتاريخية” تجاه مواطني الطوز، و آمرلي، وطلب منهم الإيعاز الفوري للقيام بعملية عسكرية عاجلة وبالتنسيق مع قوات البيشمركة من اجل انقاذ هؤلاء المواطنين من الوضع الخطير والموت المحقق. واضاف اوغلو ان “الحصار والهجمات على القضاء ادت الى تفاقم الوضع الانساني وموت الاطفال والنساء والشيوخ”، مطالبا بـ”ضرورة ابعاد القضاء عن مرمى القصف المدفعي اليومي من قبل مسلحي داعش”.واستغرب اوغلو “الصمت الدولي والإقليمي ازاء ما يتعرض له التركمان في القضاء خاصة عمليات التطهير العرقي والطائفي”.

وفي بيان صحفي صادر عن بعثة الأمم المتحدة لمساعدة العراق، أكد مبعوث الأمم المتحدة في العراق السيد ملادينوف أن الناس يعيشون في ظروف يائسة، مطالبا “الحكومة العراقية للقيام بكل ما في وسعها لتخفيف الحصار وضمان أن سكان تلقي المساعدة الإنسانية المنقذة للحياة أو يتم إجلاؤهم بطريقة كريمة “.

ويشير مراقبون لاوضاع المدينة بان الطريقة الوحيدة الان للوصول بالمساعدات للمدينة هي طائرات الهليكوبتر والتي تصل كل يومين محملة بالمساعدات الغذائية والطبية، ولكنهم يؤكدون ان هذه المساعدات لا تسد حاجة الموجودين هناك.

وصرح  مدير ناحية آمرلي، عادل شكور البياتي لوكالة “المدى برس ” ان الناحية تعاني من حصار بدأت آثاره تظهر بوضوح على 15 ألف نسمة من الأهالي بينهم الكثير من الأطفال والنساء، حيث نفد مخزون النفط الأبيض المستعمل في الطبخ، فضلاُ عن الغذاء، في ظل انعدام الكهرباء وماء الشرب”.وطالب البياتي، المجتمع الدولي بضرورة “الاهتمام بالتركمان.. الصامدين في آمرلي، على غرار ما فعلوا مع بعض المكونات الأخرى التي تعرضت لجرائم داعش”، مؤكداً أن “أهالي آمرلي أقسموا على الموت فيها أو فك الحصار من دون أن تدنس أرضهم بفلول الإرهابيين”.

وتطالب المبادرة الحكومة العراقية بتوفير حماية عاجلة ومناسبة للمدينة المحاصرة وبالتنسيق مع الجهات المحلية وعدم تعريض المدنيين لخطر المواجهة العسكرية المباشرة مع المتطرفين. وتطالب المجتمع الدولي بالتحرك العاجل لمساعدة الحكومة العراقية وحكومة اقليم كوردستان العراق لتوفير حماية لمدينة امرلي وللتركمان في العراق.


Visit Iraqi Civil Society Solidarity Initiative – مبادرة تضامن المجتمع at: http://icssi08.ning.com/?xg_source=msg_mes_network

Forgotten in Iraq: Besieged City of AMIRLI Faces Destruction by the Islamic State

August 25, 2014 at 7:25 pm | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment
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Forgotten in Iraq: Besieged City Faces Destruction by the Islamic State

By Christoph Reuter and Jacob Russell

Photo Gallery: An Iraqi City Under SiegePhotos
Jacob Russell/ DER SPIEGEL

The world took notice when the Yazidis needed help. But since June, a Turkmen city in northern Iraq has been under siege by the Islamic State. The death toll continues to mount but, thus far, the people of Amirli have been left to fight the IS on their own.

“Every day I receive about 100 patients. Every day there is shelling. Some of the injuries are very complicated, legs amputated, head wounds. But I don’t have the materials to provide serious treatment. There are cases where I have put patients on the helicopter alive and they die when they get to Baghdad.”

Dr. Khaldoun Mahmoud speaks extremely rapidly, and with good reason. There is only a single place remaining in the northern Iraqi town of Amirli where he still has a modicum of mobile phone reception: at the helicopter landing pad above the village. And with every call, he is risking his life. Fighters from the Islamic State (IS) have surrounded the town and are just one kilometer away.The jihadists are trying to cut off Amirli’s last link to the outside world and have set up their artillery within sight of the landing site. An Iraqi army helicopter still lands here twice a week, supplying the town with a minimum of supplies. On the way back, it ferries out the wounded. Without the flights, the people of Amirli would be left completely on their own and would likely quickly succumb to the ongoing siege.

“It’s like genocide” says Mahmoud. “Da’esh” — the Arabic abbreviation of the Islamic State — “attacks women, children, soldiers, they don’t differentiate between them. From one family that tried to escape, only two children came back alive. They were carrying the corpses of the rest of the family with them. People are dying from malnutrition; they are drinking dirty water and we have ulcers, bleeding and diarrhea.”

The doctor rapidly rattles off the cases he has seen. Like that of little Hussein: “He was hungry and asking me for food. I started to cry because he was so hungry and I gave him a little food. Two days later he was killed in a mortar attack. The mortar exploded above his father and afterwards we could only find pieces of him.”

He then laughs, a manic expression of desperation from a doctor responsible for 13,000 people. “Maybe I’ll go crazy if I don’t keep my sense of humor. I try to joke with the children I treat. People have to have the sense that someone is helping them. But sometimes I don’t have the skills to help people,” he laments. “I’m only a dentist.”

No One to Protect Them

In recent weeks, the fate of the tens of thousands of Yazidis from Sinjar has dominated global headlines as they sought to escape the IS. The US continues to fly airstrikes and has dropped supplies from the air. Even the German government intends to deliver weapons to the embattled Kurds in northern Iraq. But just 250 kilometers (155 miles) to the south, a similar catastrophe is brewing, and the response has been minimal.

There are no Yazidis in Amirli. Two-thirds of the town’s residents are Turkmen whose ancestors mostly came from areas that are part of present-day Turkey. They are Shiites and are thus seen by the Sunni fighters of the Islamic State as being worse than heretics. They are apostates of the true faith — a death sentence in the eyes of the jihadists. And the Turkmen have no allies in Iraq.

After IS took control of the Iraqi cities of Mosul, Tikrit and Hawijah with little resistance, they launched attacks on villages surrounding Amirli in mid-June. Well-equipped with materiel captured from weapons depots belonging to a number of Iraqi army divisions, they quickly overran several settlements in the area. By the middle of July, only Amirli was still holding out.

Around 400 militiamen, together with a few soldiers and policemen, are defending the city. Amirli native Mustafa al-Bayati, a colonel from the police force, is their commander. “The IS has tanks, dushkas (machine guns), Katyushas (rocket launchers) and they are too strong,” he says. “They attack from everywhere around Amirli: south, north, east and west. Day-by-day they come, more and more.”

On July 22, the IS cut off power to Amirli and severed water supplies two days later. All mobile phone towers have likewise been blown up or shot to pieces.

“At the beginning, people had something to eat,” says Mohammed Isma of the Iraqi Red Cross. Isma is from Amirli and is attempting to mobilize aid for the town from his base in Baghdad. “But two months is a long time and now it’s run out. One month ago, we finished everything.”

Dying of Starvation

Amirli, he says, was never well-off, but now the poorest families have nothing left. There are also pregnant women in the city — Dr. Mahmoud says there are 300 — along with the many wounded and the sick, he adds. “If nothing changes, it’s a maximum of three weeks before many people will begin dying of starvation.”

The only help for those trapped in Amirli comes from the air. Every two or three days, an old army helicopter from Baghdad lands with munitions, food and medicine, but it is never enough. Two weeks ago, Red Cross representative Isma joined one of the flights. When they landed, he says, the wounded with their families had “their arms stretched out like people drowning in water,” he recalls.

The whole time, Isma says, IS fighters were lobbing grenades at the landing site. But everyone wants to get out, which is why they expose themselves to the danger. “They say, ‘We’ll die anyway if we stay,'” Isma says. Seven patients were loaded onto the flight Isma was on. There wasn’t room for more.

Isma speaks in a calm voice when he tells his story, but he too is sick with worry. His parents, six sisters and a brother all remain trapped in Amirli. He could perhaps get them out with a helicopter. But people in Amirli know them and are aware of Isma’s job with the Red Cross. He worries that if people saw them being evacuated, the “would know the game is up” and that panic might break out.

It has been more than a month since the last known residents were able to escape the town on their own. “We left on foot,” carrying just a small bag, recalls Ali Abd al-Rida, who fled with 32 family members. They left in secret, not even daring to tell their friends and neighbors of their plans, worried that if too many people tried to escape on the discreet path leading past IS positions, the Islamists would be certain to discover them. Ali Abd al-Rida says that the IS discovered the path three days later and closed it off.

The elderly man and his family found their way to a refugee camp in Kirkuk, the closest large city to Amirli, figuring they would be safe there. But two weeks ago, a car bomb exploded next to a construction site of a mosque in the city where refugees, most of them from Amirli, had sought refuge. Twelve were killed and 50 more wounded.

Bullet Holes and RPG Craters

Abd al-Rida says that the jihadists tried to get the people of Amirli to surrender, promising through middlemen that a deal could be reached. “Send us Colonel Mustafa and Captain Hassan and we will open the road,” they offered, according to Abd al-Rida. “But people refused.”

Those best positioned to help the trapped people of Amirli are just 12 kilometers away. Here, on a hill overlooking the frontlines, the southernmost checkpoint belonging to the Kurdish peshmerga fighters is located. The exterior wall is pockmarked with bullet holes and a couple of RPG craters.

Inside, though, soldiers sit around lethargically in the sweltering heat. The commander isn’t here, says his deputy, Colonel Omid Abd al-Karim, adding that not much has happened since a big attack a month previously.

“It has been calm here since the last attack a month ago,” he says. The Iraqi army, he says, tried to save the people of Amirli not long ago. “Before they went, I told them it would not be successful, but they didn’t listen,” another officer says. An attack on the IS “would be easy with good weapons and air support, but we don’t have any,” Abd al-Karim says. The message is clear: Amirli is a problem, but not theirs.

As is so often the case in Iraq, there is a story behind the story, stretching far back into the past. Under Saddam Hussein, the Shiite Turkmen were tormented before being terrorized by al-Qaida. In 2007, four-and-a-half tons of explosives hidden under melons detonated in the market square, killing more than 150 people.

‘All of Us Are From Amirli’

Because the Iraqis didn’t protect them, the Turkmen from Amirli remained loyal to Turkey and Ankara was more than happy to act as their patrons and the Turkish government supported Turkmen parties in northern Iraq. But the alliance brought the Turkmen into conflict with the Kurds, whose help they now so badly need. They certainly can’t count on Turkey, which is currently staying out of the conflict out of fear for the lives of 49 Turkish hostages currently being held by the IS.

The result is that nobody feels responsible for the people of Amirli.

“It would be useful if the US conducted airstrikes here,” Kurdish party functionary Hassan Baram says in his office in Tuz Khormato, the last town before the front. “But I think they haven’t,” he adds, downplaying the seriousness of the situation in the city, “because nobody has been killed in Amirli and nobody is fleeing.”

Baram’s office has no windows, the result of a car bomb a couple of months ago, and the facade is threatening to collapse. “We have almost constant contact with Amirli. We want to go free them, but it’s not easy,” he says.The US too has recognized the precarious situation in Amirli. “We are aware of the dire conditions for the mainly Turkmen population in Amirli and the ongoing humanitarian crisis throughout northern and central Iraq,” reads the statement of a State Department official who asked not to be named. Both Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey and Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel have publicly discussed the possibility of a far-reaching operation against the IS, including airstrikes in Syria as well. But it could be some time before such an offensive becomes reality.

Last Thursday, Colonel Mustafa al-Bayati was once again waiting for the arrival of the next helicopter, well within range of the IS fighters. He says that almost half the force under his command is wounded and around 20 of them have died. “I don’t know how long we can protect Amirli,” he says. “But we’re going to fight until we die. It’s our town. I’m from Amirli. All of us are from Amirli.”



Turkmens frustrated with being left to help themselves

August 18, 2014 at 2:58 pm | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment
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Turkmens frustrated with being left to help themselves

Turkmens frustrated with being left to help themselves

Iraqi Shiite Turkmen families, fleeing the violence in the Iraqi city of Tal Afar, west of Mosul, rest at a temporary shelter after arriving in Kanaan, Diyala province. (Photo: Reuters)

August 16, 2014, Saturday/ 18:55:23/ AYDIN ALBAYRAK / ANKARA

Turkey’s “indifference” toward the plight of Turkmens in Iraq — who have been driven away from their homes by the terrorist “Islamic State” (IS) — and the United Nations’ “international community” growing alarmed only when other minority groups face death threats in the country fully reveals how alone the Turkmens are in the war-torn country.

When hundreds of thousands of Turkmens had to flee the Iraqi towns they lived in after the IS attack in June, Turkey took no step to protect Turkmens against the move. Ankara only air-dropped and sent trucks of humanitarian aid to those Turkmens seeking refuge in the mountainous and desert areas.

The United Nations and the international community, led by the US, England and France, made no mention of the plight of Turkmens either, nor did they take any step to further protect the Turkmens.

Suphi Saatçi, a Kirkuk-born scholar of Mimar Sinan University acknowledged that Turkmens without a passport are not allowed into Turkey and recently described their situation in Iraq, saying they have no one but God to help them.

With difficulty making any sense of the Turkish government’s indifference toward the Turkmens, he added: “They are living under the harsh sun, without shade, food or water and are left to die right under our noses. We are overwhelmed.”
Although Turkey enjoys excellent relations with the autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), Turkmens — the only major ethnic group in Iraq which does not have a security force of its own — were not allowed to enter the Kurdish area in northern Iraq to reach the Turkish border. Those Turkmens who managed with much difficulty to arrive at the Turkish border were only allowed in if they had a passport.

It has been about two months since the Turkmens first had to flee their towns due to the IS threat and massacres, but Turkey has only recently acted — in cooperation with the KRG, which doesn’t appear to have a particularly friendly attitude toward Turkmens — to establish a campsite to host Turkmens around the KRG area near the Turkish border. The campsite has yet to be established for the Turkmens, though.

In sharp contrast, when about two weeks ago the Yazidi ethnic group came under IS attack in Sinjar, a town near the Syrian border in northern Iraq, Turkey — like the “international community” — almost immediately acted to establish, also in collaboration with the KRG, a campsite in the Kurdish area for the Yazidis.

The US, which made no mention of Turkmens being killed, immediately sent troops to help remove some Yazidis, a non-Muslim minority, out of the danger zone. The UN made several statements about the life-and-death struggle Yazidis are facing due to the IS threat.

The number of Turkmens who managed to have entered Turkey cannot be very large, as there have been no such reports about them in the Turkish media. But the number of Yazidis currently being hosted in Turkey is around 1,700, as Deputy Prime Minister Beşir Atalay said in the past week. In media reports, it is implied that Yazidis are also required to have a passport to be allowed into the country, but it is however noteworthy that, given nearly 2,000 Yazidis were allowed to enter Turkey, they may have found it easier to obtain passports in Iraq than the Turkmens. It seems that Turkmens are being given the cold shoulder by Turkey, though their situation is just as dire as the Yazidis.

“Whatever Yazidis lived through, that’s what Turkmens have also lived through over the past [two months]. But nobody brought the issue up at the time,” Mahir Nakip, an Ankara-based Turkmen scholar from Kirkuk, has told Sunday’s Zaman. “It’s not only Turkey we reproach, but the whole world,” added Nakip, who teaches at Çankaya University.

Another example that reveals Turkey’s relative “indifference” toward the Turkmens is the country’s sensitivity toward the plight of Palestinians in Gaza under the Israeli attack.

Turkey recently sent, thanks to the ongoing cease-fire, a plane to Gaza to bring wounded Palestinians to Turkey for treatment. The number of Palestinians treated in hospitals in Turkey is reportedly over 20, while reportedly no Turkmens have been taken to Turkey so far since the IS attacks. Some Turkmens, including children, are known to have died over the past two months due to the hard living conditions in the mountainous and desert-like areas. Hundreds of Turkmen also died during the IS attacks against the towns they lived in.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s attitude toward the Turkmens seems to be a determining factor in Turkey’s “somewhat indifferent” stance regarding the ethnic group. The prime minister, who demonstrated that he has the mindset of a political Islamist, said during a presidential election rally last month that Palestine is a national issue for Turkey. But he has never uttered such a remark about Turkmens.

Turkmens in Iraq are deeply disappointed — though in general they are modestly expressing their disappointment — by the government’s insensitivity to their plight. “We hope Turkey will display from now on as much interest as needed toward the Turkmens,” Riyaz Sarıkahya, a Kirkuk-based leader of the Turkmeneli Party, told Sunday’s Zaman.

“Turkey has not backed us politically. This is what saddens us most,” he added.

The Turkish government has tried to explain its inability to help Turkmens in a more substantial way by noting that 49 Turkish citizens from Turkey’s Mosul consulate have been held hostage by the IS since June. But the opposition maintains that it was the government’s fault that those at the consulate were captured by the IS.
The terrorist organization captured the 49 people, which include Consul General Öztürk Yılmaz, some women, children and 30 security guards from Turkey’s special forces.

“Unfortunately, I do not think the government has displayed toward the Turkmens of Tal Afar the [same] sensitivity it displayed towards Gaza. I can’t make any sense of this,” Mehmet Tütüncü, chairman of the İstanbul-based Iraqi Turks Culture and Mutual Aid Society (ITKYD), told Sunday’s Zaman.

Hundreds of Turkmens have been killed by the terrorists of the Islamic State in Iraq during its ongoing bloody campaign in the civil war-torn country since the terrorist organization captured Mosul in the first half of June. The organization, the members of which declare themselves to be Muslim, ruthlessly kills anyone whose religious practices differ from their version of Sunni Islam, like Shiite Muslims.

In July, Turkey declared a three-day period of mourning for Palestinian victims killed in the Israeli offensive in the Gaza Strip. Erdoğan, who did not even use the word terrorist to describe the IS, lashed out at Israel for its attack against Gaza, noting that nearly 600 people, more than 100 of whom are children, were killed in the attacks at the time.

In sharp contrast, Erdoğan has barely mentioned the plight of the Turkmens, at least more than 300,000 of whom had to leave the cities and villages in which they lived in Iraq. Hundreds of Turkmens are estimated to have been killed by the IS.

Members of opposition parties also harshly criticized the government during a discussion in Parliament in July for its lack of sensitivity toward the Turkmen’s hardship. Sinan Oğan, a deputy from the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), lashed out at the government for not taking proper care of Turkmens in Iraq, noting that there are Turkmen children who have recently died of hunger. Oğan said: “Why is your government so hostile to [all that is connected with] Turks?”
Yusuf Halaçoğlu, deputy chairman of the MHP parliamentary group, in the same session of Parliament demanded: “You declare a three-day mourning period for Gaza, but why don’t you also declare a period of mourning for Turkmens?”

In a report that appeared in the Hürriyet Daily News in July, Eyat Suttu, a 35-year-old Turkmen of Tal Afar, said: “There is always someone to look after Kurds and Arabs in Iraq, but there is no one to look after the Turkmens.”


US unlikely to undertake Yazidi rescue mission in Iraq

August 14, 2014 at 10:00 pm | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment

US unlikely to undertake Yazidi rescue mission in Iraq

As aid drops continue, a special forces team concluded the humanitarian situation is less dire than previously thought

A U.S. mission to evacuate Iraqi civilians trapped on a mountain by Sunni militant fighters is “far less likely” after a U.S. assessment team sent there on Wednesday found the humanitarian situation not as grave as expected, the Pentagon said.

A team of U.S. military and humanitarian aid personnel sent to Mount Sinjar in northern Iraq to assess the situation of thousands of members of the Yazidi religious minority found far fewer people than previously feared and in better condition than expected, the Pentagon said in a statement.

“Based on this assessment,” the Pentagon said, “an evacuation mission is far less likely.”

The Pentagon credited the better-than-expected situation to airdrops of food and water, U.S. air strikes on Sunni militant targets, efforts of Kurdish peshmerga fighters and the ability of thousands of Yazidis to evacuate the mountain in recent nights.

The White House said earlier that the United States had not ruled out using American ground forces in an operation to extract the trapped civilians, but added the troops would not engage in combat.

The team of fewer than 20 U.S. personnel flew in darkness early in the morning to Mount Sinjar, where thousands of members of the Yazidi religious minority fled to escape an advance by Islamic State fighters, a U.S. official said. The team returned safely to the Kurdistan capital of Irbil by air.

The United States has 130 U.S. military personnel in Irbil, drawing up options ranging from creating a safe corridor to an airlift to rescue those besieged on Mount Sinjar.

“These 130 personnel are not going to be in a combat role in Iraq,” White House deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes told reporters traveling with President Barack Obama, who is on vacation on Martha’s Vineyard island in Massachusetts.

Rhodes noted that Obama had repeatedly ruled out “reintroducing U.S. forces into combat on the ground in Iraq.” But he added: “There are a variety of ways in which we can support the safe removal of those people from the mountain.”

Rhodes said the intention was to work with Kurdish forces already operating in the region and with the Iraqi military.

Kurdish fighters had been guarding Yazidi towns when armed Islamic State convoys swept in, and have already helped many thousands escape to safe areas to the north.

Obama has been deeply reluctant to revive any military role in Iraq after withdrawing the last combat troops in 2011 to end eight years of costly war that eroded the United States’ reputation around the world.

The president agreed last Thursday to send back more than 700 troops to help advise and guide Iraqi and Kurdish forces after a devastating sweep across northwestern Iraq by the Islamic State, who have declared a caliphate covering much of the country.

U.S. warplanes have since carried out a series of attacks on Islamic State forces, including on some approaching Irbil and on roadblocks and artillery around Mount Sinjar to the west.

Army Colonel Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman, said on Wednesday that the air attacks, combined with operations by Kurdistan’s peshmerga armed forces, had “slowed, if not stopped” attacks on the terrified families who had fled to the mountain.

U.S. and British military forces have been dropping supplies of food and water to those on Mount Sinjar in the last week and Rhodes said other countries were also offering to help, including Australia, Canada and France.

U.N. agencies have rushed emergency supplies to the Dohuk region by the Syrian and Turkish borders, where the office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees says about 400,000 refugees have fled, including Yazidis, Christians and other minorities.

Al Jazerera and Reuters


The U.S. and the E.U. should arm the Turkmens in Iraq

August 14, 2014 at 5:50 pm | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment

If the U.S. and the E.U. are sending weapons to the Kurds they should also arm the Turkmens in Iraq. The Turkmens, Iraq’s third main ethnic community, have no armed militias, they continue to be easy targets.

When ISIS attacked Turkmen cities and villages, neither the Iraqi army nor the Kurdish peshmerga protected them.

The Iraqi army abandoned its positions before the arrival of ISIS mercenaries and the Kurdish peshmerga who were positioned around Turkmen inhabited towns and villages did nothing to protect the inhabitants. Kurds who are now controlling and occupying the so-called contested territories do not protect non-Kurds.


August 9, 2014 at 9:27 am | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment


The effects of the ISIS operations on the Turkmens – ORSAM report

August 9, 2014 at 9:25 am | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment





Car bomb attack on internally displaced Turkmens in Iraq’s Kirkuk kills 6

August 9, 2014 at 3:45 am | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment

Car bomb attack on internally displaced Turkmens in Iraq’s Kirkuk kills 6 and injures 37

A car bomb blast ripped through a Shiite mosque Thursday in the city of  Kirkuk where Turkmens  displaced by attacks on their towns and villages had found refuge, police and medics said. Among the victims of the blast, which killed at least six people and wounded 37, were women and children who had been forced from their homes in Amerli, Bashir and Taza, Dr Mohammed Abdallah from Kirkuk hospital said.
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