Metin Kazak MEP announces Turkmen Hearing

Note: Change of date

The Turkmen Hearing at the EU Parliament will take place on 5th December 2011

instead of 3rd October 2011.

Mr. Metin Kazak, MEP announces Hearing “Iraq’s Forgotten people?- The Turkmen of Kirkuk” at the EU Parliament

In a recent meeting of the European Parliament’s Subcommittee on Human Rights, Metin Kazak MEP spoke about the increasing violence in Kirkuk and appealed to the European External Action Service to take steps toward protecting Iraqi Turkmen rights in the region.

The city of Kirkuk has experienced a significant increase in violence, targeted at ethnic groups, in the months leading up to the U.S.withdrawal from Iraq. While the reconstruction effort in the country has yielded a marked decline in violence in a majority of regions, Kirkuk’s barriers to peace stem from an enduring struggle amongst several ethnic communities over the governance model for the city and wider region.

The Iraqi Turkmen, who have long suffered varying degrees of persecution in Iraq, have called for the restoration of peace, representation and culture in the region. These requests have been met with “bombings, assassinations and intimidations,” according to Metin Kazak, a member of the European Parliament representing Bulgaria.

On 12 July 2011, Kazak implored the European External Action Service to “support a peaceful and equitable solution to the question of Kirkuk and…initiatives intended to promote deep and meaningful dialogue between political parties, including all Iraqi Turkmen parties, associated with the disputed territory.”

In a prepared statement, a spokesman from the External Action Service responded that “in terms of the question of dialogue, the EU fully supports the United Nations, which has been in the lead on this issue and is playing a prominent role in facilitating dialogue on the disputed territories.”
The spokesman emphasized that a UN task force exists to confront the Kirkuk question and that this force has been consistent in its attempts to aid the Iraqi government in solving internal border disagreements.

The UNPO anticipates that these issues will be comprehensively discussed in the upcoming hearing organised by the Subcommittee on Human Rights, Iraq’s Forgotten People? – The Turkmen of Kirkuk chaired by Mr Kazak. The hearing, set to take place on Monday, 3 October 2011, will highlight the Iraqi Turkmen’s unique history which is so closely associated with Kirkuk, the consequences of US withdrawal on the community, and the future of Iraqi Turkmen in the region.

Below is the full transcript of the exchange:
Subcommittee on Human Rights: Parliamentary Question
14 July 2011
Subject: Announcement of Iraqi Turkmen Hearing
Chairman (translated): And now I’d like to go over to the third question which was asked by
The question relates to the minorities in Kirkuk in Iraq. Over to you.

Mr Metin Kazak: Thank you very much chairman. As the United States prepares to withdraw its forces fromIraqand the European Union is working to expand its cooperation with Baghdad, the city of Kirkuk and its vulnerable population of Iraqi Turkmen remains as much as ever a flashpoint for violence that may prove the biggest threat to the stability and security of Iraq as a whole.

While violence throughout Iraq has been declining, Kirkuk is experiencing a rise in bombings, assassinations and intimidations that target Iraqi Turkmen and others in a potent demonstration of ineffective local government and security structure, a loss of faith in the central government and deepening mistrust in a process that seems to be working against the city’s historic Turkmen community. So, um, there have been voices urging the United States to retain a presence in Kirkuk to protect the Iraqi Turkmen community, for greater representation of Iraqi Turkmen in the federal administration, expansion of the power associated with the Kirkuk governate and government council and for a reassessment of Iraqi Turkmen social and political situation in Kirkuk.

So my question, what with this perspective to the European External Action Service, is how they see this cost and what steps is the EAS taking to support a peaceful and equitable solution to the question of Kirkuk and the second and additional question is what action is the European External Action Service taking to support initiatives intended to promote deep and meaningful dialogue between political parties, including all Iraqi Turkmen parties associated with the disputed territory of Kirkuk.
Thank you.

Chairman (translated): Thank you very much. Now I would like to give the floor to
representative of the EAS to answer to this question.

Commission: Thank you very much Mr Chair. I have an answer that has been provided to me by the Iraq desk of the EAS, which, more than the specific situation in Kirkuk emphasizes that a very substantial proportion of EU support has been given to the most vulnerable Iraqis, many of whom are internally displaced, living in areas with dense minority group populations.

EU assistance has ranged from humanitarian assistance to support for the protection and promotion of human rights to the rehabilitation of schools and it has been systematically based on principles of non-discrimination and impartiality. The EU has also provided support to Iraq in its efforts to re-establish rule-of- law and effective governance including through the U-JUST LEX mission. In general terms the Foreign Affairs Council addressed the issue of violence against minorities at its meeting of November 2010 and adopted conclusions stressing that the new government inIraq would need to rededicate itself to the pursuit of national reconciliation, representing the intere sts and needs and protecting the human rights of all Iraqis regardless of ethnicity or creed. In terms of the question on dialogue, the EU fully supports the United Nations which has been in the lead on this issue and is playing a prominent role in facilitating physical dialogue on the disputed territories between Iraq’s minorities. The United Nation’s assistance mission for Iraq has continued to work with the new Iraqi government and the Kurdistan region government to ensure follow-up to the high level task force for advancing the issues of disputed internal boundaries and the status of Kirkuk. Thank you.

Chairman (translated): Thank you very much. Would Mr Kazak want to ask a follow-up question?

Kazak (translated): Thank you president. I would like to thank the representative of the European External Action Service for this answer. I believe the answer clearly that the complicated situation I’ve brought up in my question is not fully realized. This is a region that needs special attention; it’s a region in a very delicate and very worrying situation. The Iraqi Turkmen community needs special attention and I expect the European External Action Service to really pay attention to this question because we are talking here about breeches of basic human rights. These people are godforsaken and this is the third community in Iraq in terms of size that has been victimized by the great powers and the way they govern the situations so we are going to organize a hearing on the matter.

Chairman (translated): Would the commission like to answer the question?

Commission: Thank you Mr Chairman. I will simply relay the information to the relevant colleagues. And we look forward to receiving information about the hearing and to ensure proper representation there. Thank you.


Below is the link to the video of METIN KAZAK MEP addressing the Commission on July 12, 2011

Note: to go directly to Mr. Metin Kazak’s question please slide the cursor to 9:31

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