Ban Ki-moon: Sending Peshmarga to Kirkuk was a Mistake

April 6, 2011 at 10:56 am | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment
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Ban Ki-moon: Sending Peshmarga to Kirkuk was a Mistake

image U.N. secretary general Ban Ki-moon.


Rudaw, Agencies– U.N. secretary general Ban Ki-moon said that the deployment of Peshmarga forces in Kirkuk was a mistake. 

Presenting a report at the U.N. Security Council Ban Ki-moon said that his organization is concerned about the situation in Kirkuk and the deployment of five thousand Peshmargas in the past two months. 

The secretary general called for a review of the distribution of forces between the Peshmarga, Iraqi army and the Americans in the provinces of Kirkuk, Dyala and Nineveh. Ban Ki-moon said, “The situation in the disputed territories is still uneasy and on the night of February 25th around five thousand Peshmargas had been sent to Kirkuk.” 

The president of the Iraqi Kurdistan Region Massoud Barzani said at the end of his tour of Europe last month that it was his order to dispatch the Peshmarga to Kikruk to protect the civilians of that area from extremist attacks. But in his report, the U.N. secretary general said that the Peshmarga had been sent without their knowledge and that the Kurdistan Regional Government had only found excuses to send those forces to tackle the threats in the area. “This act,” said Ban Ki-moon, “is a violation of the agreement reached by the security team that was formed in Baghdad to maintain the security of those areas.” 

In his report, the secretary general stated that Iraq’s Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and leaders of Turkmen and Arab parties have asked for the withdrawal of the Peshmarga forces from Kirkuk and to that end negotiations are ongoing.

Who, What and Where are Iraq’s Turkmen?

September 5, 2014 at 6:31 am | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment
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Who, What and Where are Iraq’s Turkmen?

Know your Yazidi. An anthropological sketch will assure support for US and Peshmarga military advances across Iraq, and sequester a competing other minority—Iraq’s Turkmen.


International concern in Iraq pivots around saving the Yazidi people. Christians seem to count too; the Shabak also merit some attention. One can only applaud humanitarian support for any threatened population. But why the total dismissal of their neighbors and fellow Iraqis, the Turkmen? They too are at grave risk. Augmenting Al-Mufti’s account from the ground is a report noting how, “While the European Parliament … officially acknowledges the situation faced by minorities in ISIS occupied Iraq, their resolution … [2014/2716(RSP)] made no specific mention of Iraqi Turkmen… among the worst affected”.

Yes, Iraqi Turkmen are among millions now terrorized by the insufferable ISIS. Turkmen’s expulsion is not new however. A review of their history over the past decade reveals a pattern of forced removal from cities and villages across north Iraq. Not by ISIS, by American allies: Iraqi Kurds.

Telafar, a majority Turkmen city of 200,000 was all but depopulated beginning in 2003 when Kurdish Peshmarga reportedly conducted massacres there; attacks targeting Turkmen continued thereafter. This coincided with a political campaign to absorb ancient Kirkuk City along with Ninevah and Diyala provinces by Kurdish authorities. In 2009 the parliament of Kurdistan voted on a constitution to claim these areas, extending Kurdish rule beyond Suleimaniya, Dohok and Irbil. Mass Kurdish migration into Turkmen homelands displaced Turkmen, creating new facts-on-the-ground. In 2011 the Peshmarga Kurdish militia occupied Kirkuk, ostensibly to protect local inhabitants.The Turkmen National Front has been struggling with little success to push back Kurdish takeovers. They’ve no militia of their own and support from Baghdad, always weak, has now collapsed.

International news and human rights agencies consistently disregarded Kurdish advances into Turkmen areas. Today too. Turkmen are being whited-out of the picture. Why? It appears to be part of a strategy to consolidate Kurdish claims over all the Turkmen homelands.

Kurds took command of Kirkuk a month ago, again “to save” the city, this time from ISIS. The Peshmarga militia is a major US ally; resupplied with heavy weapons, it’s now engaged with the US military to push ISIS out of Mosel.

We may find Kurdistan awarded full control over Ninevah and Diyala– provinces they have long coveted. Its illegitimate constitutional claim becomes a reality.

One does not seek to tarnish one people at the expense of another. But the current situation in northern Iraq suggests it’s more than a heroic drive to protect endangered civilians. Here is an opportunity to answer Kurdish territorial and political ambitions.

Iraq’s Turkmen are ancient inhabitants of Iraq. Estimates of their numbers vary from 1-3 million: possibly 13% of the population, Iraq’s third main ethnic group. Turkmen are well known as loyal Iraqi nationals, Shiia and Sunni. They speak Turkish and Arabic. They’ve used just means to hold onto their rights and their homeland. And they deserve to be heard and embraced. Even as observers, let’s not be manipulated by the divide-and-rule policies of others which have done so much harm across this land.

Barbara Nimri Aziz is a veteran anthropologist and journalist. Her latest book is Swimming up the Tigris: Real Life Encounters in Iraq (2007).


Iraqi Turkmens ‘left for dead’ in desert

July 22, 2014 at 6:06 pm | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment

Iraqi Turkmens ‘left for dead’ in desert

İpek Yezdani – ARBIL


Hürriyet Photo, Selçuk Şamiloğlu

Hürriyet Photo, Selçuk Şamiloğlu

A humanitarian tragedy is unfolding in Iraq as Turkmens who fled the advance of the feared Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) are now succumbing to the region’s scorching summer sun as refugees. And with death approaching, many refugees are apoplectic at Turkey and Kurdistan’s indifference to their plight.

“There is always someone to look after Kurds and Arabs in Iraq, but there is no one to look after Turkmens. Turks were calling Telafer ‘Little Istanbul;’ why doesn’t Turkey take care of us now?” said Eyat Suttu, 35, noting that said his wife had been seriously ill for five days but that he had not been able to bring her to a hospital because the Iraqi Kurdish peshmarga had not let them enter Arbil.

“We are going to die here under the sun in the dust. Just kill all of us at once and this torture will be finished for all of us,” he said.

On June 15, ISIL, who had recently renamed itself as the Islamic State (IS), seized the control of the northern Iraqi city of Telafer, a largely Turkmen city.

Thousands of Shiite Turkmens first fled to the northwestern city of Sinjar in order to flee to either Kirkuk, Baghdad, Karbala of Najaf. However, they have been kept waiting for days in 50-degree weather in the desert by peshmarga forces at the Hazer security checkpoint just outside Arbil.

Hazer is the main security checkpoint between Arbil and ISIL-controlled Mosul. Outside the checkpoint, there are thousands of people from new-born babies to the elderly, who have been trying to survive in tents which they have made from blankets in the desert heat.

Small children and elderly people die every day because of the intense heat, according to refugees waiting at the checkpoint.

‘We buried three children’

Mahsoun Habil Muhsin, 35, escaped from Telafer with his wife and five children. “We have been suffering here for a week. The peshmarga doesn’t allow us to enter Arbil. Our children are dying because of the heat and diseases. We buried two old women and three children yesterday. There are new-born babies in the camp and they could die at any minute,” Muhsin said.

The only area Shiite Turkmens think they can take shelter in in northern Iraq is the peshmarga-controlled city of Kirkuk.

“When ISIL attacked Telafer, we have fled to Sinjar on June 16. But there was no food or water there. So we had to leave Sinjar and come here. However, the peshmarga keeps us waiting here. Why don’t they let us go? We are Turkish, why doesn’t Turkey take care of us?” Muhsin added.

Hidir Suleiman, 42, who used to be an elementary school teacher in Telafer, fled to Hazer with his nine children. “We left everything we had behind. We didn’t even take our ID cards. Elderly people died on the road. Our wives and children are dying here. We just want to get out of here, we don’t want anything else. Just save us and allow us to enter a town in Turkey,” he said.

Thousands of Turkmens stay in the storage as hot as oven

In addition to Turkmens who have been kept waiting at the Hazer checkpoint, there are also thousands more who have been living inside an empty storage in Arbil. They are being sent to Baghdad, Najaf or Karbala in small number of groups by plane once a week.

Inside the storage, it is much hotter than outside. They have divided the storage into three- to five-square-meter rooms with blankets for each family. There are at least 10 people staying in every room.

Fazil Muhammad, a hammersmith from Telafer, fled Arbil with nine people from his family. “We had had clashes with ISIL for three days, and then the Iraqi army brigade who came from Baghdad fought against them for a week. Then ISIL started to bomb the town. Gen. Abu Walid withdrew his soldiers. We had to run away too. We have been staying here for 30 days, we are waiting to be sent to southern Iraq,” he said.

‘ISIL killed all those left behind’

Hadi Hasan, who came to the storage a week ago, said ISIL had killed all the Shiites who were not able to flee and who were left behind in Telafer.

“They killed even 40-day-old babies and the elderly. They have blasted all the Shiite mosques. They even killed the animals, cows and sheep. We didn’t have time to bury some of the bodies.”

Zeynep Ali Ekber, 25, said ISIL militants took away 20 people including her father and her brother from the Bekkekut village of Telafer. “They have arrested many from the other Shiite villages. We haven’t heard from them since then,” she said.


Baghdad, Kurds reach deal on north’s security

December 7, 2012 at 11:40 am | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment
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This photo shows Peshmarga forces near Kirkuk. The armed forces of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) have been on alert for weeks. AA photo
This photo shows Peshmarga forces near Kirkuk. The armed forces of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) have been on alert for weeks. AA photo

Iraq’s prime minister said yesterday Baghdad and Kurdish officials have reached a preliminary deal to allow inhabitants of disputed northern areas to oversee their own security.

Nouri al-Maliki said Baghdad and leaders of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) have agreed that units will be formed from local ethnic and sectarian groups to replace Iraqi and Kurdish forces currently in the disputed areas, which are claimed by Arabs, Turkmens and Kurds, the Associated Press reported.
Tension between Baghdad and Arbil has increased over the last two months following a decision by al-Maliki to form a new military command to oversee security forces bordering the northern Iraq. The move was deemed unconstitutional by the KRG.

Meanwhile, Iraqi President Jalal Talabani said yesterday that the country faces dangers that may cause fatal results and that it is on the edge of a civil war, the Anatolia news agency reported. “These developments threaten the serenity and stability in the country.”


Of tyrant rulers and innocent people – Rauf Naqaishbendi

May 11, 2009 at 3:35 pm | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment
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Of tyrant rulers and innocent people

  • – By Rauf Naqaishbendi
  • 08/05/2009

When tyrants reign with absolute power, they make every effort to weaken the will and spirit of the people. They employ every harsh measure to subdue the object of their oppression understanding when the people band together to rise against them, it will be their ultimate downfall. Because wealth is a vital aspect of this absolute power, these tyrants, in pursuit of their power domination, loot the wealth of the nations in order to further secure their authority. This is the historical pattern of the rule of tyrants. An especially tragic example of this subject, that is the ruthlessness of tyrants and the innocence of people, can be seen in the inhumane conditions the Iraqi Kurds must endure under the self-seeking reign of two modern day tyrants, Jala Talabani and Masoud Barzani. This situation must be brought into the light.

One who isn’t familiar with the Kurdish situation might wonder if the Kurds themselves are insane, for they found themselves with not only one bad leader, but with two? Why would they allow their situation to be doubly damaged? Why don’t they simply choose a good leader? The answer is simple: it is not the Kurds’ desire to have these debauched men as their leaders, but rather the result of very unfortunate circumstances. Barzani and Talabani are locked in a power struggle. If either of the two could kill the other and all his armed followers, he would. But they are at a stalemate, and therefore, the Kurds have been trapped as a captive audience. Even if the Kurds were able to topple one of these leaders, which would be easier to accomplish than toppling both at once, the result would be that the other ruler would then take over. The Kurds would still not be free of the tyrant.

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