Iraq’s Shia Turkmen militia counterattack in Bashir

June 13, 2015 at 9:21 am | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment
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Pissed Off Turkmen Want Their Town Back

Iraq’s Shia Turkmen militia counterattack in Bashir

by MATT CETTI-ROBERTS

An Iraqi Turkmen militiaman stands on a black Ford F250 Super Duty and stares off into the distance. Above there’s the hazy midday sun. In front of him, there’s the front line in the war with Islamic State.

Three Islamic State fighters approach the front line — a sandy berm stretching into the distance on either side of the miltiaman’s position. IS is notorious for using teams of suicide bombers, so the Turkmen fighter cannotallow them to get close.

Reaching toward the truck’s mounted KPV 14.5-millimeter heavy machine gun, he racks back the cocking handle, swivels the weapon toward no-man’s land and fires three short bursts.

The militants scatter back the way they came.

It’s early April and beyond the earthen berm, less than a mile away, is the Islamic State-held town of Bashir. The town sits around 10 miles southwest of Kirkuk.

The fighters occupying the front line here are mainly Shia Turkmen from the local area working as part of Iraq’s predominantly Popular Mobilization Forces — also known as the Hashd Shaabi.

In a few days, they will carry out another attack to retake the town.

At top — a Shia Turkmen fighter of the Martyr Sadr Force stands on the roof of his unit’s base near Kirkuk. Above — a Badr Organisation position at the front line outside Bashir. Matt Cetti-Roberts photos

The Turkmen are one of Iraq’s largest minority groups, descended from various waves of migration dating back to the 7th century. Although they inhabit areas across central Iraq, many lived in villages to the south of Kirkuk before Islamic State came.

Bashir is widely considered the heart of the Iraqi Turkmen community. They once constituted 40 percent of its population.

But in 2014, Islamic State swept through Iraq. In June, Bashir fell. Iraqi army troops based at the nearby K-1 Airbase fled, and left their weapons and vehicles behind. The Kurdish Peshmerga rushed in to fill the security vacuum in and around oil-rich Kirkuk.
One of the Iraqi army troops who fled is now back. Maj. Abdul Hussein Abass sits behind a desk inside a base for the Hash Shaabi’s Martyr Sadr Force.

Shia religious flags fly from the roofs of the base’s buildings. “When ISIS took Bashir, 23 people were killed, including women and children,” Abdul says — while surrounded by Turkmen Shia fighters.

“I am from Bashir originally,” Abdul, who is Turkman Shia himself, says. “It’s my neighborhood, so I joined the fight. I am a military man.”

“We are here to protect our land, especially Turkman Shia, [but] we don’t have racism,” Abdul says. “We are all here. There aren’t many of us so we have to work together. Ten Sunni guys joined, we never say no.”

The badge-adorned load carrying vest of a Turkmen Martyr Sadr Force fighter. Matt Cetti-Roberts photo

Abdul says that improvised explosive devices — or IEDs — are a major obstacle to retaking the town.

“When we say we will take Bashir, the fighters move and don’t think there are bombs,” Abdul says. “They are all thinking of the fatwa, it is inside their brain pushing them to this kind of work.”

After his unit evaporated during the Islamic State advance last year, he moved to the Kurdish capital of Erbil and registered to join Unit 16 — the Turkmen Hashd Shaabi formation that covers the area from Tuz Khumartu to Kirkuk.

From there, he helped liberate the besieged Turkmen town of Amerli in September 2014.

A Shia Turkmen fighter of the Martyr Sadr Force stands beneath a portrait of Muhammad Baqir Al Sadr, a Shia cleric executed in 1980 by the Ba’athists, at the unit’s base near Kirkuk. Matt Cetti-Roberts photo

On June 29, 2014, Abdul took part in the first attack on Bashir, where 26 Turkmen died. He tells us that the fighters were not organized properly — unlike now under the Hashd Shaabi.

But this isn’t the first time Bashir’s residents were forced from their homes.

In 1986, Saddam Hussein’s Arabization policy displaced the town’s Turkmen. The plan was to bring in loyal Sunni tribes to areas where minority groups who opposed the regime flourished.

“I remember I was in the sixth grade, I didn’t pass that year of school,” Abdul recalls. “They [the Iraqi army] said the sewage pipes didn’t work so we couldn’t stay in Bashir — then they gave it to to the Sunni Arabs.”

When American forces invaded in 2003, the Turkmen returned from exile to reclaim their homes. Fighting between returning Turkmen and Sunni Arabs eventually saw Saddam’s emigres forcibly ejected.

Many Sunnis remained in the outlying villages and some joined Islamic State. “Whoever was working with ISIS of course can’t come back home [and] has to go to prison, we have names and intelligence of these people,” Abdul adds.

“We are from this land and trying to protect this land. We are trying to defend Bashir, because it is our land, our property,” he says, explaining why only the Shia Turkmen are trying to liberate the town.

He also doesn’t see Unit 16 having a role in any future liberation of Mosul — a majority Sunni city. He believes former residents of the city should be involved in the operation instead.

A militia flag. Matt Cetti-Roberts

Reprisals

Colorful flags of Iraq’s powerful Shia forces flutter along the front line. On the walls of the Martyr Sadr Force’s base are pictures of Muhammad Baqir Al Sadr, a Shia cleric executed in 1980 by Saddam’s Ba’athist regime.

But the Shia militias’ sectarian nature has provoked fears of retribution attacks against Sunnis. Iraq’s mainly Shia Popular Mobilization Forces were brought together by a fatwa — a religious call to arms — by Grand Ayatollah Ali Al Sistani.

In 2014, Iraq’s then-Prime Minister Nouri Al Maliki authorized the miitias’ deployment and gave them official backing. The militias have since been at the forefront of victories over Islamic State, beating them back in Diyala province and parts of Salahaddin.
But human rights groups have accused Shia fighters of carrying out sectarian attacks against Sunnis — looting homes, setting property on fire and carrying out executions.

There’s even been recurring friction between the Hashd Shaabi and the Peshmerga, such as Tuz Kharmato. Recent reports emerged that the Peshmerga told 80 members of the Saraya Tali’a Al Khurasani militia to leave Jalawla. In January 2015, the Shiatold the Peshmerga to leave.

Abdul denies any problems with his unit. “The media says that Hashd Shaabi murders and loots,” he says. “We took Jedadyah [a village close to Bashir] back and didn’t take anything, but ISIS took everything from there.”

Although his group didn’t loot the town, he says, another unit he won’t name tried, and he sent them away. “I won’t let you take anything from that village, go to get permission from the governor,” he claims he told them.

Two Turkmen fighters of the Badr Organisation ride a motorbike along the front line near Bashir. Matt Cetti-Roberts photo

Shaker Hassan Ali, a Turkman spokesperson for the Hashd Shaabi’s Badr Organization based in their Kirkuk offices has a … different take. He says that Islamic State dressed up as Popular Mobilization Troops and carried out looting as a form of disinformation.

“A man with Hashd Shaabi hasn’t seen his family, he is not going back to take things, he is going to fight and be a martyr — he’s not there to steal,” Ali says.

The Iraqi Shia Badr Organization is one of Iraq’s most powerful paramilitary groups. Originally set up in 1982 and — at that time — led by Iranian officers, they were accused of sectarian killings during the 2006–07 Iraqi civil war.

They now operate under the umbrella of the Hashd Shaabi. Shaker says they have around 5,000 fighters in the Kirkuk area and — he claims — even have Christians and Sunni among them.

“If there had been no fatwa in Iraq it would have been a bad situation,” Shakar says as he sits in a large hall in the Badr’s offices. Today, the organization is having a ceremony to remember one of their colonels who died fighting in Tikrit.

In the dim hall lit by fluorescent tubes, two portraits of a man wearing a uniform photoshopped onto an Iraqi flag sit on a table. His name was Qassim Avaf, a fighter who died in the Turkmen’s first attack on Bashir in June 2014.

The militia found his body in no-man’s land.

Two portraits of Qassim Avaf, a fighter who was killed in the first attack on Bashir in June 2014, are seen on a table in the Kirkuk offices of the Badr Organisation. Matt Cetti-Roberts photo

Another attack

Back at the front line, a group of fighters stand together. Another fighter named Abbas, an officer in charge of around 100 Turkmen, stands with a shotgun over his shoulder.

“Three were injured by mortars,” he says, referring to an Islamic State barrage earlier that day. “Since the first attack on Bashir, 64 fighters have been killed and 103 injured.”

Abbas points to his faith as one reason why he joined the Badr Organisation. But he says he wants to take back the town because it belongs to the Turkmen. “We will fight side-by-side to retake the town ourselves, but we need any help we can get, it’s just us on this front line.”

There haven’t been coalition air strikes on this part of the front line, and in Abbas’ opinion, the U.S.-led coalition only supports the Kurdish Peshmerga. The Badr Organization is one of several groups that the coalition does not support with air strikes because of their sectarian agenda, according to a senior coalition forces officer.

So why hasn’t the Hashd Shaabi taken back the town? Abbas replies frankly that there are too many IEDs.

Shia Turkmen fighters, Abbas at left and Abu Mikhail at right, on the front line close to Bashir. Matt Cetti-Roberts photo

Another fighter, 24-year-old Abu Mikhail, left Bashir nine months ago when the town fell to Islamic State. A former carpenter, he joined the Badr Organization the same month.

“The call of fatwa made us join,” he says. “I fight first for faith, then for my country, and also for my brother who died fighting here to get Bashir back.” A few days after our interview, Abu Mikhail was killed when Islamic State detonated a large car bomb during the Turkmen’s attack on Bashir.

Nearly mile behind the Hashd Shaabi is another berm manned by Kurdish troops armed with ancient Soviet tanks and MTLB armored personnel carriers armed with 14.5-millimeter ZPU anti-aircraft guns.

Capt. Hider Sulaiman is a Peshmerga platoon commander. He stands near a T-62 tank.

The flag of Kurdistan flies from the top of a Kurdish Peshmerga T-62 tank based at a support weapons line around a kilometer behind the Bashir front line. Matt Cetti-Roberts photo

“We work together on this front line,” Hider says.

He adds that both his unit — affiliated with the Kurdistan Democratic Party — and the Badr Organization communicate and work well together.

The presence of the KDP troops working with the Hashd Shaabi may be related to problems between the Popular Mobilization Forces and Peshmerga forces loyal to the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan — the political party that most of the units in this area belong to.

The Peshmerga are not here to take the village, but to support the Shia Turkmen fighters with heavier weaponry such as artillery. The village is Turkmen, so the job of taking it falls to the Hashd Shaabi.

Hider suggests that there may be as few as 50–60 Islamic State left in the town, and half of them could be snipers.

The militants in the town also use mortars to harass the Hashd Shaabi. “This morning they fired mortars. There is no pattern to their firing,” Hider explains. “Sometimes they shell at 2:00 a.m., sometimes 3:00 a.m., sometimes in the evening.”

Flags bearing names of those killed during the June 2014 attack on Bashir are seen on a wall in the nearby town of Taza. Matt Cetti-Roberts photo

The next attack would take place two days later. The fourth such assault on the town saw 400 Turkmen from all over Brigade 16 — bolstered by other Popular Mobilization forces from the rest of Iraq — attempt to reclaim the Turkmen town.

They failed.

IEDs caused the attack to stall and many — if not all — of the Islamic State insurgents were wearing suicide vests. The militants also drove a large car bomb at the attackers, causing multiple casualties.

The front line is now closer to Bashir, 30 meters in some places, but the town still remains in Islamic State hands.

View story at Medium.com

Note: The article by Dr. Hassan Aydinli, Iraqi Turkmen Front EU Representative, about BASHEER has been posted on the European Parliament’s website:http://www.europarl.europa.eu/…/tragedyoftheturkmenpeop…

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THE TRAGEDY OF THE TURKMENS OF BEŞİR (BASHEER) IN KIRKUK PROVINCE – IRAQ

March 27, 2015 at 3:20 am | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment
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FOR THE ATTENTION OF THE HONOURABLE MEMBERS OF THE DELEGATION FOR RELATIONS WITH IRAQ IN THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT.

 

THE TRAGEDY  OF THE TURKMENS OF BEŞİR (BASHEER) IN KIRKUK PROVINCE – IRAQ

TWO GENOCIDES  HAVE BEEN COMMITTED AGAINST THEM IN THE PAST 28 YEARS 

            THE FIRST ONE IN APRIL 1986 AND THE SECOND ONE IN JUNE 2014.

By Dr. Hassan Aydinli,

Iraqi Turkmen Front EU Representative

Brussels, 25th March 2015.

 map-of-turkmenli with Beshir

 Notes:

1- Above is the map where the sub-district of BEŞIR (Basheer or Bashir in Arabic) is indicated.

2-The area in green on the map is where the Turkmens have settled in Iraq 1000 years ago.

BEŞIR (Basheer) is the name of a large Turkmen agricultural sub-district situated 25 km south west of Kirkuk whose name has become famous as a symbol of the Turkmens’ sufferings in Iraq after it was mentioned in the Preamble of the new Iraqi Constitution in 2005, along with the names of the Arab sub-district Al-Dujail and of the Kurdish sub-district Halabja, whose populations have suffered the most in Iraq under the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein.

 

Indeed, the ordeals of the Turkmens of BEŞIR (Basheer) under the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein from 1980 up to 2003 have been acknowledged by the legislators and the authors of the new Iraqi constitution as ‘crimes of ethnic cleansing, racial oppression and massacres amounting to genocide, committed against the Turkmens of Basheer’.

 

HISTORY:

 

The history of BEŞIR as a Turkmen agricultural settlement in the north of Iraq goes back to more than 1000 years and its first recorded history goes back to 1556, it is mentioned in the Ottoman registers (Dafter Tahrir of Kirkuk N° 111 of the year 1556 AC) dating back to the reign of the Ottoman Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent and kept in the Turkish Archives in Ankara.

According to these registers there were 89 Turkmen families and 9 bachelors living in BEŞIR in 1556, all of them farmers who had been issued official deeds (certificates) registered in their names.

After WWI, when the new Iraqi state (the Kingdom of Iraq) was established the deeds and property certificates issued during the Ottoman era were renewed in 1936 and registered as deeds being issued by the Iraqi state.

The property ownership situation in Iraq remained unchanged until 14th July 1958 when the Monarchy was overthrown by a coup d’état and the Republic of Iraq was declared.

First genocide: Land confiscation, ethnic cleansing and racial discrimination

During the early years of the Republic the Iraqi Communist Party and their Kurdish leftist allies became predominant and they influenced the political and social orientation of the regime. The government issued many new laws, among them the ‘agrarian law’ which limited the land ownership to a maximum of 2.000 donums (500 hectares) per family.

Many hectares of land were taken from Turkmen families in BEŞIR to be distributed to landless Iraqis such as the Arab nomads and poor Kurds, to help them to settle around BEŞIR.

Furthermore in 1968, when the Baath party came to power in Iraq by a military coup, it embarked in a policy of arabization of the Turkmen region in Kirkuk Province, they issued new laws limiting the property ownership to 200 donums (50 hectares) per family (law number 117 of 1970) and more agricultural lands belonging to the Turkmen families living in BEŞIR and in the other Turkmen villages around Kirkuk were confiscated.

From 1970 to 1980 the Revolutionary Command Council of the Baath regime issued several decisions by which they confiscated lands belonging to Turkmens, supposedly for the purpose of general public interest (protection of oil fields, enlargement of the military installations, new air base, etc.), i.e. Decision Number 369 of 1975, Decision Number 824 of 1976, Decision Number 949 of 1977, Decision 1065 of 1978 etc… This is how 1.300.000 Donums (325.000 hectares) of agricultural land belonging to Turkmens of Kirkuk were confiscated (as indicated in the letter from the Judicial Adviser of the Ministry of Agriculture in Kirkuk to the Minister of Agriculture Ref 16784 dated 25/11/2010).

All these confiscated Turkmen lands have been registered as ‘lands belonging to the Iraqi state’ in the names of:  the Ministry of Finance or the Ministry of Local Administration.

In 1982 after the start of the Iraq-Iran war, and despite the enrolment of several hundreds of Turkmens from BEŞIR in the army to fight against the Iranians, the Iraqi security forces arrested hundreds of intellectuals from BEŞIR, accusing them of being opponents to the Baath party and affiliated to the forbidden Al-Dawa Party (Shi’a).

In 1984, after summary judgements by a revolutionary court,  93 intellectuals of BEŞIR were sentenced to capital punishment and were hanged  and 71 were sentenced to life imprisonment in Abu Ghraib prison, among them young boys  aged 16 and elderly men over 60.

In 1986 while the young men of BEŞIR, were still fighting on the front in the war against Iran, the Baath regime, not satisfied with the above mentioned unjust punishments of innocent Turkmens of BEŞIR, ordered the expulsion of their families, giving them 48 hours to pack their personal effects and leave their homes. They were forcibly moved to some communal compounds which had been built in a rush to serve as ‘transitional accommodation’ on the road to Tikrit. Their houses were razed to the ground and their agricultural lands were confiscated and were given to Sunni Arabs supporting the Baath regime, in application of a policy designed to arabize Turkmen towns and villages in Kirkuk province.

Each of these Arab families were given 10.000 Iraqi Dinars in cash (equivalent of 33.000 USD) as incentive to build their house on Turkmen lands, while the unfortunate Turkmens were displaced without any valid reason or any legal justification and without receiving any compensation.

After a year spent in the communal compounds the Turkmen families from BEŞIR were dispersed to cities throughout Iraq: Nasseriyah, Diyala, Diwania, Kut and Erbil, without being provided with housing and without being compensated for the loss of their livelihoods, houses and agricultural lands.

From being landowners and farmers since centuries in Iraq, the Turkmens of BEŞIR became refugees in their own country and were left completely destitute.

Meanwhile the Baath regime had arabized the name of the village calling it “Al-Bashir” instead of BEŞIR.

After the regime change in April 2003, when the U.S. military occupied the north of Iraq they did not take control of the area around BEŞIR and the Arabs which had been installed there by the Baath regime remained in the area.  The original Turkmen inhabitants of BEŞIR came with tents and camped near the village, demanding the departure of the Arab settlers, they wanted to recuperate their agricultural lands and be compensated for the loss of their properties and loss of earnings since 1986.

A Turkmen NGO built 100 houses for the families of the martyrs, which became the nucleus of the new reconstructed sub-district of BEŞIR and little by little other Turkmen families returned and built their houses there.

In July 2003 the newly returned Turkmens from BEŞIR wanted to remove the Arab settlers by force, the U.S. occupation authorities intervened, they led and controlled a “mediation” in September 2003, but this mediation did not resolve the property dispute, it was only a ‘short-term agreement’ which allowed the Arabs who had settled in BEŞIR to stay on the land for the Winter agricultural season on a ‘non-renewable basis’, it granted them the Winter harvest. The requirement was that they would leave BEŞIR within one year of the signing of the ‘agreement’. After this one year period the Turkmens would be allowed to return on their ancestral lands.

Unfortunately, the Arab settlers did not respect this ‘agreement’ and they refused to leave BEŞIR, despite the new Iraqi government’s offer to give them a sum of money to help them return to the region they came from. To make things worse, they built more and more houses on Turkmen lands.

On 15th January 2004, the Coalition Provisional Authority issued Regulation Number 8, authorizing the Governing Council of Iraq to establish the Iraqi Property Claims Commission. Soon after its creation, the Commission created Tribunals to look at the claims presented by the Iraqis who had been unjustly dispossessed.

The Turkmens of BEŞIR followed the procedures set up by the Commission and in early 2005 they introduced 1.150 claims to the Tribunals set up by the Property Claims Commission in Kirkuk for their confiscated agricultural lands situated in BEŞIR which had been registered in their names in the official old Cadastral Sector of BEŞIR (Sector numbers 36, 38, 45, 46, 47 and 48).

In July 2005 the Tribunals examined these 1.150 claims introduced by the Turkmens of BEŞIR, they found them receivable and justified and they ordered the return of all the agricultural lands to their original owners.

Notwithstanding the decisions of the Tribunals being in favour of the Turkmens of BEŞIR, only 350 of the 1.150 claims have been finalized to-date. This shows that the discrimination against the Turkmens continues in Iraq, despite the regime change and despite a special decree (number 59 / 2088) on 3rd October 2005 from the President of the Republic ordering the central and local authorities in Iraq to execute the decisions of the Tribunals of the Property Claims Commission swiftly and without any further delay.

Regrettably, the Iraqi Ministers of Finance and of Local Administration, under the pressure of the Sunni Arab political parties, have appealed the decisions of the Tribunals for the remaining 800 claims,  arguing that they need these lands supposedly ‘for general public interest’. Consequently, the cases are still pending and the Arab settlers are still living around BEŞIR and exploiting Turkmen agricultural lands.

In 2006, under the government of Prime Minister Ibrahim Al-Jaafary, the actual Prime Minister, Dr. Haidar Al-Ibadi, who was his adviser and was nominated the President of a Committee to investigate the Crimes committed against the people of BEŞIR (under the Baath regime) had asked (on 5th February 2006 in a letter ref.MRW/12/2006) the Governor of Kirkuk, Abdurrahman Mustafa, to update him about the progress of the local authorities of Kirkuk in helping the people of  BEŞIR  to recuperate their lands and to return to their homes.  He asked the Governor to send him a report about the problems still faced by the people of BEŞIR.

On 30th March 2006, the Iraqi Council of Ministers decided to reconstruct the sub-district of BEŞIR and it allocated 43 Billion Iraqi Dinars (about 32 Million USD) for this project and ordered the Finance Ministry (in a letter dated 2nd April 2006 ref. 8/1/5/4423) to allocate 14 Billion Iraqi Dinars to the Ministry of Reconstruction and Housing for the year 2006 to start the reconstruction.

Today, twelve years after the removal of the Baath regime and nine years after the decision of the Iraqi Council of Minister to reconstruct Bashir and despite the budget allocated in 2006 for its reconstruction, not a single house has been built by the Iraqi Government for the Turkmens of BEŞIR, the only realization by the Iraqi Ministry of Reconstruction and Housing and by the Governorate of Kirkuk is a publicity board at the entrance of Taza (near BEŞIR) announcing the ‘Project for the Reconstruction of BEŞIR’.

Second genocide: mass killings, rapes, ethnic cleansing and looting by ISIS terrorist groups

To make things worse for the Turkmens of BEŞIR, the Arab settlers who remained around BEŞIR welcomed the ISIS terrorists when these came to area and they supported them in the attacks on BEŞIR which started on 14th June 2014. BEŞIR inhabitants resisted ISIS attack during 3 days with their small weapons and only little ammunition. Unfortunately, because they did not get any help from the Iraqi forces or from the Kurdish peshmerga, they could not stop the invasion and occupation of BEŞIR by ISIS terrorists.

ISIS occupied BEŞIR on 17th June 2014 and expulsed its entire Turkmen population composed of about 1.500 families, totalising about 10.000 people. ISIS terrorists looted all the homes and properties.  A few days after they had occupied BEŞIR, they published some videos on their websites, showing the demolition of schools, offices, mosques, religious shrines and the library. To terrorize and humiliate the Turkmens, ISIS published photos of their unfortunate victims, some had been beheaded and their bodies had been left in the open to be eaten by wild animals, and some others had been tied to lamp posts.

ISIS has committed war crimes and ethnic cleansing in BEŞIR. During the first three days of their attack they killed 36 unarmed Turkmens. They kidnapped women and children, tortured, raped and savagely killed some of them.

 

A few days after the occupation of BEŞIR, a group of Turkmen volunteers composed of youths from other Turkmen localities (Taza, Tisin, Tuz Khurmatu and Kirkuk) came to help the people of BEŞIR, together they tried to dislodge ISIS terrorists. Unfortunately they failed, 21 were killed and many of them were injured by ISIS snipers positioned in strategic points in and around BEŞIR, armed with heavy long range machine guns. Their task was made difficult because ISIS had already planted explosive devices on the roads leading to BEŞIR and booby trapped buildings and houses in BEŞIR.

On 18th March 2015, a Turkmen unit of the ‘Peoples’ Mobilisation to fight against ISIS’ (Hashd al-Shaabi) tried again to liberate BEŞIR, unfortunately they too failed,  because ISIS terrorists had time to reinforce their positions in and around BEŞIR, positioning many more snipers with long range machine guns in all the strategic high positions. The Turkmen unit managed to reach the Police Station but they were forced to withdraw after suffering many casualties (5 killed and 9 gravely injured).

It is clear that the Turkmen unit of the ‘Peoples’ Mobilisation to fight against ISIS’ with its present day capacity and weapons cannot liberate BEŞIR without reinforcement and support from the Iraqi and/or International Coalition air forces. Unfortunately, to-date, neither has come to their help.

During the 23rd March 2015 Meeting of the Iraqi Council of Ministers in Baghdad, it has been decided that the peoples who have suffered from ISIS terrorist attacks in the north of Iraq, i.e. the Christians, the Turkmens, the Yezidis, the Kurds and the Shabaks, exposing them to mass killings and to internally displacement, are victims of ethnic cleansing, amounting to genocides. Concerning the Turkmens, the Council of Ministers has specified that the Turkmens of TEL AFAR and the Turkmens of BEŞIR, have been victims of genocide by ISIS terrorist groups.

Thus, this is the second genocide committed against the Turkmens of BEŞIR in less than 28 years.

Therefore, we Turkmens of Iraq, call upon the Delegation for Relations with Iraq of the EU Parliament, to support our case and endorse the Turkmen demands stated in the Common Declaration of the indigenous non-ruling peoples of Iraq, (which we presented to the EU Parliament on 19th November 2014) and advocate our requests with the European Parliament, the EEAS, the European Commission and the EU Council.

The Iraqi Turkmens request the following help and support from the European Union authorities:

  • Provide humanitarian aid directly to the remaining 250.000 displaced Turkmens.
  • Provide military training and military equipment directly to the Turkmen units in order to enable them to liberate the sub-district of BEŞIR, the district of TEL AFER and the Turkmen villages around MOSUL which are still occupied by ISIS.
  • Provide material aid to rebuild the homes, properties and infrastructure damaged or destroyed by ISIS terrorist groups in the Turkmen region after it has been liberated.
  • Assist and support the Turkmens in their negotiations with the Iraqi Central Government and the KRG concerning their request for TEL AFAR and TUZHUMATU to be upgraded to the status of Governorates in Iraq.
  • Assist and support the Turkmens in their negotiations with the Iraqi Central Government and the KRG in order to achieve a special status for Kirkuk, whereby the power will be shared equally between the Turkmens, Arabs and Kurds (32% for each of the three main ethnic communities and 4% for the Christian minority of Kirkuk).
  • Assist the Turkmens in their negotiations with the Iraqi Central Government to obtain their fair share of power within the Central Government and their fair share from the Iraqi budget.

Thank you for your understanding and your support.

Dr Hassan Aydinli, ITF EU Representative and Merry Fitzgerald were invited to the launch of the Report “Between the Millstones: The State of Iraq’s Minorities Since the Fall of Mosul

March 1, 2015 at 2:54 am | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment
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Dr. Hassan Aydinli, ITF EU Representative and Merry Fitzgerald, President of Europe-Turkmen Friendships, were invited to attend the launch of

  “Between the Millstones: Iraq’s Minorities Since the Fall of Mosul”

A report of a consortium of NGOs  

on Friday 27th February 2015, at International Press Center- Residential Palace in Brussels.

The report is a joint publication of the INSTITUTE FOR INTERNATIONAL LAW AND HUMAN RIGHTS, MINORITY RIGHTS GROUP INTERNATIONAL, NO PEACE WITHOUT JUSTICE and the UNREPRESENTED NATIONS AND PEOPLES ORGANIZATION.

Note: Under ‘TURKMEN’ on pages 8-9 of the report ( 1st Edition 2015) it is stated that : “Iraq’s Turkmen community has strong support from Turkmen diaspora organizations such as the EUROPE-TURKMEN FRIENDSHIPS ORGANIZATION and other groups”.

ITF EU representative Dr. Hassan Aydinli, and Merry Fitzgerald attended the launch of the Report, they intervened during ‘Questions and Answers’, Dr. Aydinli spoke at length with Mr. William Spencer of Institute for International Law and Human Rights and with Mr. Marino Busdachin, General Secretary of UNPO. Ms Merry Fitzgerald spoke with Ms Johanna Green, Project Manager of UNPO.

Brussels, 27th February 2015.

Since June 2014, the rapid spread of ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and al Sham) forces across northern Iraq has triggered a wave of displacement, with more than 2 million people uprooted.  Ethnic and religious minorities have been particularly targeted, including Turkmens, Christians, Yezidis, Kaka’is, and Shabaks, with thousands killed and many more injured or abducted.
Alison Smith, NPWJ; Johanna Green, UNPO; Mays Al-Juboori, MRG; William Spencer, HLHR
William Spencer, Institute for International Law and Human Rights and
Dr Hassan Aydinli, Iraqi Turkmen Front (ITF) EU Representative
Marino Busdachin, General Secretary of  UNPO and
Dr Hassan Aydinli, Iraqi Turkmen Front EU Representative.

Minority communities in Iraq have been targeted by the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) in a systematic strategy to remove them permanently from large areas of Iraq, warns a group of human rights organizations in their new report. “Between the Millstones: Iraq’s Minorities Since the Fall of Mosul” provides critical information on the legal basis for war crimes prosecutions.

According to the report, the Iraqi government lacks a legal framework to address the rights and entitlements of the displaced people, it should clarify its role and responsibilities. The Iraqi government and the Kurdish Regional Government should investigate and prosecute corruption in the delivery and acquisition of humanitarian aid and make sure that humanitarian aid is fairly divided among the displaced people. The Iraqi government should provide urgent assistance to the humanitarian effort and resettle minorities who have been displaced. Summary executions, forced conversion, rape, sexual enslavement, the destruction of places of worship, the abduction of children, the looting of property and other severe human rights abuses and crimes under international law have been committed repeatedly by ISIS.  While minorities have long been vulnerable to attacks by extremists, this violence appears to be part of a systematic strategy to remove these communities permanently from areas where they have lived for centuries.
For these groups to have a future in the country, Iraqi and Kurdish authorities, the international community and other stakeholders must work together not only to ensure their immediate security, but also take steps through comprehensive legal and social reform to bring an end to their long-standing marginalization and prevent further abuses. All IDPs are suffering especially minority women.
Regarding the TURKMENS, the report states that prior to June 2014, Turkmens were intimidated by Kurdish and Central government authorities, as well as by extra-judicial militias, on religious and ethnic grounds as well as for the presence in the ‘disputed territories’. More recently, Shi’a Turkmens have been summarily executed by ISIS fighters.
*
The reports also states that Iraq’s Turkmen community has strong support from Turkmen diaspora organizations such as the Europe-Turkmen Friendships and other groups.
*
Concerning TURKMEN SITES, the report says: As ISIS forces swept through Tal Afar and the surrounding areas in June and July 2014, numerous Turkmen mosques, shrines and religious and cultural sites were destroyed or desecrated, including Shi’a mosques in the villages of hardaghli, Brauchli and Qaranaz, all of which until recently had a large Turkmen population.  ISIS forces also destroyed the shrine of Arnaour and the Shi’a mosques of Husseiniyh al-Qubba, Husseiniyh Jawad, Husseiniyh Kaddo, Husseiniyh Muslim Bin-Aqeel and Husseiniyh Askar-Mullah in Tal Afar. The largest and oldest library in the Tal Afar district was also blown up – a huge blow to the Turkmen population. Another library in the Diyala governorate, with some 1,500 Islamic historical texts and stories, was reportedly burnt to the ground by ISIS forces. In Mosul the tomb of Ibn al-Athir was destroyed, and the shrine of Imam al-Abbas in al-Qubba village and three Shi’a mosquess were set ablaze by ISIS militants in the village of Al-Sharikhan. ISIS forces reportedly used bulldozers in the Turkmen town of al-Mahlabia to destroy the shrines of Sheikh Ibrahim and the shrine and tomb of the Sufi Sheikh Ahmed Rifa’i. Shi’a mosques and other sites of religious significance were reportedly set on fire by ISIS forces in the Turkmen towns of Qubba and Qubbek, in Tal Afar district. Several important Sunni shrines were also reportedly destroyed in Mosul and Kirkuk, including the shrine of Sufi Salih, in addition to some Kaka’i shrines. Two Shi’a shrines in Sinjar – Sayida Zainab and Saiyed Zakariya – were also destroyed, as well as the Shi’a holy shrine of Imam Ridha in Tiskhrab village. In the Tukmen village of Chardaghli, a Sunni mosque was destroyed along with three Shi’a mosques.
*
In the Turkmen village of Staeh, Sunni and Shi’a mosques as well as Yezidi religious shrines were destroyed. The report also mentions the Denial of Entry issue that minority communities have experienced from certain areas of Iraq, particularly by Kurdish forces. The KRG has been criticized by numerous human rights activists for applying discriminatory rules based on ethnicity and religion, with Assyrians, Kurds and Yezidis typically being permitted to enter the Iraqi Kurdish region, while Iraqi Turkme and Shi’a and Sunni Arabs have been denied access.
*
Regarding Employment and Education, the report states that though children have the right to be educate in their mother tongue under the Iraqi Constitution of 2005, this has not been respected.In the Iraqi Kurdish Region minority groups are pressured to be educated in Kurdish and fincancial incentives are used to promote the language. Provision of education in the children’s native tongue is also under-resourced in Iraq: many Turkmen communities, for example, have struggled to access education in their own language.  On the Sexual and gender-base violence, the report says:There have been numerous reports of sexual abuse, rape, abductions, enslavement and other violations of a sexual nature perpetrated by ISIS militants on women and children across Iraq.In many cases, sexual violence has been used as a tool of terror and coercion. In one incident on 12-13 June 2014, ISIS forces reportedly raped and killed at least nine women and girls as young as 12 years old in the Turkmen town of BESHIR. The bodies of the women were then stripped naked and hung from lamp posts and water tanks around the town.
The report also says that some Turkmen and Yezidi children left by ISIS forces in an orphanage in Mosul showed signs of being physically and sexually assaulted. While Yezidi women have been especially targeted, at least several hundred Shi’a women, mostly Turkmen, have also been kidnapped and sold into sexual slavery by ISIS, as well as Christian women.
*
Finally the report makes several recommendations to the Federal Government of Iraq, to the Kurdish Regional Government and to the International Community, to prevent further abuses and for the Restoration and Reconciliation.
PLEASE SEE: http://unpo.org/downloads/1271.pdf http://unpo.org/article/17993

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

http://www.turkishweekly.net/news/170899/women-and-children-among-massacred-iraqi-turkmen.html

 

IRAQI TURKMEN FRONT EU Representative Dr Hassan Aydinli’s APPEAL TO THE UNITED NATIONS TO ESTABLISH A SAFE HAVEN FOR THE TURKMENS IN IRAQ

July 1, 2014 at 12:55 am | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment
Tags: ,

Please note that ITF EU representative Dr. Hassan Aydinli  delivered this letter by hand to Ms Emmy Takahashi, UNHCR Head of Unit – Global Issues – EU  – at a meeting at UNHCR Brussels Office 

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note: TURKISH TRANSLATION FOLLOWS THE ENGLISH TEXT

LOGO IRAQI TURKMEN FRONT FLAG

 

 

IRAQI TURKMEN FRONT

European Representation

Brussels-Belgium

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

S.0.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.

 

 

Turkish translation: 

Ekselansları, Birleşmiş Milletler Genel Sekreteri, Bay Ban Ki Moon’nun acil dikkatine

IRAK TÜRKMENLERİNDEN BİRLEŞMİŞ MİLLETLER GENEL SEKRETERİNE KUZEY IRAK’TA GÜVENLİ BÖLGE TESİSİ İÇİN S.O.S. VE ACİL BAŞVURU

Sayın Ekselansları

 

Ben, Irak Türkmen Cephesinin Avrupa Birliğinde ki Temsilcisi olarak ve Irak’ta ki üçüncü büyük etnik gurup olan, Araplar ve Kürtler ile birlikte Irak halkının omurgasını teşkil eden üç ana toplumdan biri olan Irak Türkmenleri adına, Irak Türkmenlerinin ISIS/IŞİD (Irak Şam İslam Devleti) adlı terör örgütünün 9 haziran 2014 tarihinden beri Kuzey Irak’ı istila etmesi üzerine bugünlerde yaşadıkları korkunç trajik duruma ve karşılaştıkları feci zorluklara dikkatinizi çekmek için bu mektubu size yazıyorum. 

 

O günden beri ISIS/IŞİD terör örgütü saldırılarını katlayıp istilasını Kuzey Irak’a doğru hızla yaymakta, Irak silahlı birliklerinin konuşlandıkları Kuzey Irak’ta ki dört (Musul, Kerkük, Salaheddin ve Diyala) ilden beklenmedik ve şaşırtan geri çekilişinden doğan boşluk nedeniyle anılan vilayetlerin kısmen ISIS/IŞİD ve Kürt peşmergeler tarafından istilasını kolaylaştırmaktadır.  

 

Gerçekte Kurt Pesmerge, ya terör örgütü ISIS/IŞİD ile önceden anlaşarak ya da şans eseri Irak hükümet güçlerinin Irak’ın kuzeyinde ki mevcut zayıflığından faydalanarak Kürt peşmergeler kuvvetlerini Kürt özerk bölgesinin ötesinde Kerkük, Musul, Salaheddin ve Diyala illerinde ki sözde “ihtilaflı toprakları” işgal ve kontrol etmek için hızla ilerletmişlerdir. Peşmerge kuvvetleri şimdi Kuzey Irak’ın Türkmen bölgesinin (Türkmeneli) neredeyse tamamını işgal etmekte ve anılan dört vilayette ki Türkmen kasabalarını ve şehirleri kontrol etmektedirler.

 

ISIS/IŞİD bir hafta önce Musul’u istila ettikten sonra Musul ilinde ki en büyük Türkmen kasabası Telafer’e saldırarak yüzden fazla Türkmen’i öldürmüş ve birkaç yüzünü de yaralamıştır. 200.000 nüfuslu Telafer kasabasının, çoğunluğu kadınlar, çocuklar ve yaşlılardan oluşan halkı kesif bombardıman altında şehri terk etmişlerdir. Kavurucu çöl sıcağında ki bu savunmasız halk barınak, su ve gıda bulmada büyük güçlük çekmektedirler. Onlardan Kürt bölgesine sığınma arayışında olan bazılarının talepleri ret edilmiştir.

  

ISIS/IŞİD; Kerkük ilinde ki Hawija ve Tikrit kasabalarını kontrol altına aldıktan sonra Kerkük, Salaheddin ve Diyala illerinin Türkmen bölgesine geçip bu illerde ki Beşir, Biravceli, Salman Pak, Kara Tepe, Jalawla gibi Türkmen kasabalarına ve Türkmen Bayat kabilelerine ait olan birkaç köye de saldırıp işgal etmişlerdir.

 

ISIS/IŞİD işgal ettiği bu Türkmen yerleşimlerinin her birinde, işkence, tecavüz, genç kızları kaçırma, Türkmen mülklerini yağmalama ve ayırım gözetmeksizin kadınları, adamları ve çocukları toplu öldürerek insanlığa karşı suç işlemektedirler.

 

Irak’ta ki bütün bölgelerde yerleşik Türkmenleri Irak ordusunun koruyacağına dair güvence veren Irak hükümeti tarafından Irak’ta ki Türkmenlere ihanet edilmiştir.  

 

Kerkük ilini savunma ve korumadan sorumlu 12nci Irak tümeninin, tüm silahlarını ve malzemelerini bırakarak bulunduğu mevkii beklenmedik bir şekilde terk etmiştir.

 

Kürt peşmerge Kerkük ilini ISIS/IŞİD saldırılarına karşı savunmak üzere bölgeyi devralmış ve Irak ordusunun terk ettikleri silahlara el koymuştur.   

 

Maalesef, ISIS/IŞİD Beşir’e saldırdığında peşmerge kuvvetleri, az sayıda silahlanmış Türkmen halkını kendi köylerini savunma zorunda bırakarak, Beşir çevresinde ki konumlarını terk etmişlerdir. Türkmenler mühimmatları bitinceye kadar ellerinden geldiğince direnmişlerdir. ISIS/IŞİD köyü ele geçirmiş ve köy halkı yerlerini terk etmişlerdir, fakat maalesef hepsi başarılı olamamıştır. En azından düzinelerce kişi öldürülmüş, 30 kişiden fazlası yaralanmış ve bir çoğu hala kayıptır, bunlar ya ölüdürler ya da köyde mahsur kalmışlardır.

 

ISIS/IŞİD aynı insanlık suçlarını, çoğunluğu kadın ve çocuklardan oluşan 23 Türkmen’i öldürdükleri, Salaheddin ilinde ki Türkmen yerleşimi Biravceli’de işlemişlerdir.

 

Yukarıdakiler Kuzey Irak’ta kendi kasabalarında, şehirlerinde ve köylerinde silahsız Türkmenlere yapılanlardan bir kaç örnektir.

 

2003 yılından beri Türkmenler sürekli hedef olmuşlar ve saldırılmışlardır. Öldürülmüşler, yaralanmışlar, fidye için rehin alınmışlar ve mülkleri yağmalanmışlar veya yakılmışlar ve politik liderleri suikasta uğramışlardır. 

 

Yukarıda anlatılan görünümüyle, Irak’ta ki Türkmen toplumunun hayatta kalması açıkça söz konusudur. Ülkenin mevcut sorunlu durumunda tüm Irak’ta ki, bilhassa Kuzey Irak’ta ki, Türkmenler bir etnik temizlik ve potansiyel soykırımla karşı karşıyadırlar.

 

Bu nedenle Irak Türkmenleri; Birleşmiş Milletler Genel Sekreteri, Bay Ban Ki Moon’u, 1991 – 2003 yılları arasında Irak Kürtlerine sağlandığı gibi Türkmenlere de Kuzey Irak’ta emniyetli bir yaşam sağlamak suretiyle Türkmenlere yardım etmelerini ve onları potansiyel bir soy kırımından korumak için sonuna kadar çaba sarf etmelerini acilen talep ederler

 

Ayrıca Türkmenler Birleşmiş Milletlerden ISIS suçlularını Irak merkezi yönetiminde ki ve sözü edilen dört vilayetin yöresel yönetimlerinde ki, Türkmenleri savunmasız ve korumasız bırakarak ihanet eden sorumlular ila birlikte Uluslar Arası Suçlular Mahkemesinde yargılanması huşunu acilen talep ederler.  

 

Saygılarımla

 

Dr. Hassan Aydinli

Irak Türkmen Cephesi AB’de ki Temsilcisi

Brussels, 21st June 2014.

 

Articles about the situation in the Turkmen region in Iraq

June 24, 2014 at 2:08 pm | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment
Tags: , , , , , ,

AFP Sunday 22ND June 2014 – ISIS returns 15 bodies of inhabitants of the Shiite Turkmen village of BASHIR, at the South of Kirkuk, who were killed during the attack on the village by ISIS last week

L’Etat islamique en Irak et au Levant (EIIL) a rendu, dimanche 22 juin, 15 corps d’habitants du village chiite et turkmène Al-Bachir, au Sud de Kirkouk, tués lors de l’attaque du village par l’EIIL la semaine dernière.

Video Durée: 00:32

http://www.boursorama.com/actualites/irak-l-eiil-rend-les-corps-de-victimes-turkmenes-f49ea5eeb151710e5504ad13d0d69511

 

 ON TARGET: Iraq’s complexities befuddle media

SCOTT TAYLOR ON TARGET
Published June 22, 2014 – 3:56pm

Scott Taylor is Canadian, he is a bestselling author and award-winning journalist. In 2004 he wrote a book entitled: “AMONG THE OTHERS” Encounters with the forgotten Turkmen of Iraq. Published in Canada ESPRIT DE CORPS BOOKS ISBN 1-895896-26-6

http://thechronicleherald.ca/opinion/1217543-on-target-iraq-s-complexities-befuddle-media#.U6fOUgaIHrg.facebook

 

  The Fall of Tal Afar and the Situation of Turkmens
Bilgay Duman, ORSAM Middle East Researchers

http://www.orsam.org.tr/en/showArticle.aspx?ID=2652

 

 

After the fall of BESHIR in the hands of ISIL terrorists, the men (from 15 to 50 years old) of the Turkmen city of TAZA are on the alert to protect their city. All the women and children have fled.

http://www.lefigaro.fr/international/2014/06/22/01003-20140622ARTFIG00158-sur-la-frontiere-entre-tribus-d-irak-et-kurdes.php

 

 

İŞİD’e Destek verenler veya Sevenler Kına Yaksınlar 15 Şehit Cesed’ini Buğün o Terör Arablar Beşir’li Türkmenlere verdiler.  video

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=779125472119361&set=vb.100000657459663&type=2&theater

 
23 Turkmens were killed in Biravcılı Tuz Khurmatu, IRAQ   VIDEO

Türkmen Elımden Acı Haber geliyor Müsait Değiliz Tirene Bakıyoruz

IŞİD Türkmen köyünü bastı, 23 TÜRKMENİ ÖLDÜRDÜ….!
LANET OLSUN TÜRKMENLERİMİZİ UNUTANLARA!
TÜRKMENLERİMİZ YAPAYANLIZ…………………….
SİLAHSIZ SAVUNMASIZ……………………………….
Irak’ta Tuzhurmatu ilçesine bağlı Biravcılı köyünü basan IŞİD militanları 3’ü kadın 23 Türkmen’i öldürdü.
Köye girmek isteyen IŞİD militanları ile Türkmenler’in yaklaşık 3 saat çatıştığı, köye girmeyi başaran IŞID militanlarının 23 Şii Türkmen’i kurşuna dizdiği öğrenildi. Saldırı sonrası bazı evleri de yakan IŞİD militanları köyden ayrılırken, köyde yaşayanlar cenazelerini de alarak diğer ilçelere kaçtı.

 

 

Turkmen Volunteers Fight ISIL Militants Near Kirkuk
Volunteer fighters near the northern Shi’ite Turkoman village of Basheer outside Kirkuk fired rocket-propelled grenades and automatic weapons at radical Sunni militants of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) on June 20.    VIDEO
http://www.rferl.org/flashembed.aspx?t=vid&id=25429722&w=640&h=363&skin=embeded

 

DSC_1047

DSC_1059

21ST June 2014 – IRAQI TURKMENS, and their friends from the Turkic world demonstrated in The Hague in front of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to denounce the ethnic cleansing of Turkmens in Iraq by the fanatic ISIS terrorists. Photo album on my page on FB

https://www.facebook.com/merry.fitzgerald/media_set?set=a.10201003924620147.1073741858.1828008135&type=1&notif_t=like

 

Note : Iraqi Turkmens held meetings /demonstrations in Australia, London, Ankara, Istanbul, Adana, and several other cities in Turkey.

 

 HISTORY REPEATING ITSELF IN THE TURKMEN VILLAGE OF BESHIR IN IRAQ

BESHIR, twice a martyred village, under the chauvinistic Baath regime and now under terrorist ISIS  VIDEO

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=674339372647003&set=vb.372389659508644&type=2&theater

 

 Kerkük’e Bağlı Tazehurmatu Nahiyesi bugün matemdeydi.

15 Beşirli şehit nahiyedeki Şehitler Mezarlığında toprağa verildi.
IŞİD militanlarının kontrolündeki Beşir köyü bir haftadan beri hayalet köy.
Cenaze merasiminde,gözyaşı,feryat,tekbir,hüzün ve ağlama sesleri birbirine karıştı.Ruhunuz Şad olsun.

 

Iraqi Turkmen feel abandoned by Turkey

http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2014/06/tastekin-iraqi-turkmen-kurds-turkey-isis-kirkuk-krg.html

 

 

Shiite Turkmens flee Kirkuk due to ISIL attacks

http://en.cihan.com.tr/news/Shiite-Turkmens-flee-Kirkuk-due-to-ISIL-attacks_1318-CHMTQ3MTMxOC80

 

 Kurdish control over Iraq’s Kirkuk raises fears for city’s residents –

See more at: http://www.middleeasteye.net/news/kurdish-control-over-iraqs-kirkuk-raises-fears-citys-residents/666615279#sthash.FuwlYkfE.9eRMGY7C.dpuf

 

 

IŞİD Türkmen köyünü bastı, 23 TÜRK İNFAZ EDİLDİ!  VIDEO

http://www.mehmetciktv.com.tr/video/5157/isid-turkmen-koyunu-basti-23-turk-infaz-edildi.html#.U6iznZSSyCC

 

  

TELLAFER KAN AĞLIYOR VARMI BİR DUYAN, Türklük Yok olmuş Yokmu İnsanlık.
Tercümana Gerek Yok Türkça Konuşuyorlar, Türküz Diyorlar

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10202306288073958&set=vb.1094150565&type=2&theater

 

  

IRAQ – Turkmen village BESHIR annexed by ISIS

In this article published in LE NOUVEL OBSERVATEUR they say that peshmerga colonel Abdel Fattah Jalal Mohammed now working for the Kurdish police arrived in Beshir as a GANG LEADER after the fight, with 2 big 4×4. The peshmerga did not come alone, they came with KURDISH LOOTERS. The Colonel knows they are looters and he does nothing to stop them

http://tempsreel.nouvelobs.com/monde/20140618.OBS0844/irak-bashir-village-annexe-par-les-djihadistes.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

ITF EU Representative Dr Hassan Aydinli speaking in Antwerp, Belgium at Workshop: “Archival Awareness” – PRESERVING THE UNIQUE HERITAGE OF INDIGENOUS CULTURES-

June 24, 2014 at 2:59 am | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment
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Iraqi Turkmen Front EU representative Dr Hassan Aydinli speaking in Antwerp, Belgium  on 31/03/2014 at Workshop: “Archival Awareness” – PRESERVING THE UNIQUE HERITAGE OF INDIGENOUS CULTURES- at the ADVN- Archives and Research Centre.

In view of the clear need of providing new models to make a minority dimension work within the framework of multinational states, UNPO embarked on a landmark initiative dedicated specifically to exploring the different dimensions of the concept of self-determination. This initiative combined a range of different activities, in which the participants took part not only as passive learners, but were given the opportunity to influence the course of the different events, express their viewpoints and articulate their demands for self-determination.

The Archival Awareness Workshop workshop was organized by UNPO in cooperation with NISE (National movements and Intermediary Structures in Europe) in the Flemish city of Antwerp, the academic support  of CIEMEN, Centre Maurits Coppieters and UOC (Universitat Oberta de Catalunya).

The Workshop explored how archives can be used to share knowledge and best practices on issues pertinent to the preservation of social, cultural and economic rights.

The workshop was led by a team of experts in the field of archival management, including specialists on minority rights and indigenous archives.

Back in July 2013 at the side-event organized by UNPO at the United Nations in Geneva, Dr. Hassan Aydinli had made a presentation on land grabbing in the Turkmen region in northern Iraq, he had explained how the properties and agricultural lands of his  family and of all the inhabitants of his village, Beshir, had been confiscated under the arabisation programme of the Ba’ath regime. Some time later Mr. Marino Busdachin, Secretary General of UNPO had told Dr. Aydinli that UNPO would be organizing an event in Belgium where he would have the opportunity to  present the case of the land grabbing  of his agricultural lands by the Ba’ath regime to an audience of experts in the field of archival management and specialists on minority rights.

In February 2014 Mrs. Maud Van Walleghem of UNPO informed Dr. Aydinli  that they were organizing a two days Conference-Workshop on Self-Determination in the 21st century in Brussels and Antwerp, and she asked if he would be interested to present the case of  confiscation of his agricultural lands as a ‘case study’ at this conference which would be held on 31st March 2014.  Mrs. Maud Van Walleghem also asked if he could bring along the copies of his family deeds to show them to the experts who would be present.  Dr. Hassan Aydinli accepted to participate at the Workshop in Antwerp and at the Conference in Brussels which would take place on the following day.

In his presentation Dr Hassan Aydinli – speaking of the case of the Turkmen village of  BESHIR in northern Iraq where the properties and agricultural lands of the inhabitants were illegally confiscated under the arabization policy of the Ba’ath regime thirty years ago – stressed the importance of keeping personal archives. Especially given the fact that on 10th April 2003 the Kurdish militias (Peshmerga) had invaded Kirkuk and had put fire to the Property and Land Registry buildings in order to destroy all the property and land deeds belonging to the Turkmens.

One of the experts on the panel intervened to qualify this despicable act as a serious crime called  ‘ARCHICIDE‘ i.e. the killing of archives.

Dr. Aydinli explained that his family who  had kept their deeds at home, had submitted their files containing copies of their property deeds to the Property Claims Commission in view of recuperating their agricultural lands.

He added that unfortunately,  ten years after submitting their files to the Property Claims Commission, his family has only recuperated one piece of land from the sixteen pieces of agricultural lands which were confiscated under the previous regime.

 

 

 

 

KRG Directive to Return Land to Kurdish Farmers

October 16, 2012 at 7:01 pm | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment
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According to the article below, Kurds are getting their agricultural lands back thanks to a directive issued by the Kurdistan Ministry of Agriculture, that is very good news.

But what about the Turkmens who were dispossessed from their agricultural lands under the Arabization policies of the former regime?

I’m thinking of the Turkmens of the village of BESHIR whose village and agricultural lands are still occupied by “imported Arabs” who refuse to budge, despite the fact that they would receive compensation from the government!

Besides, the great majority of the Turkmens from Beshir have not received any compensation for the loss of their homes which were destroyed under the Baath regime, although they have the deeds proving they are the rightful owners and despite the fact that they have submitted their files in due time to the Property Claims Commission.

Why then is it taking the Iraqi government so long to compensate the Turkmens?

Here is the article:

KRG Directive to Return Land to Kurdish Farmers

15/10/2012 22:29:00By NAWZAD MAHMOOD

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SULAIMANI, Kurdistan Region — According to a directive issued by Kurdistan’s Ministry of Agriculture, dozens of occupied agricultural lands will be given back to Kurdish farmers under a temporary contract until Article 140 of the Iraqi constitution is implemented.

The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) directive will pave the way for the original owners to regain lands that have been occupied for more than 30 years. The farmers will also receive agricultural subsidies from the KRG.

Continue Reading KRG Directive to Return Land to Kurdish Farmers…

استقبل الدكتور سعد الدين أركيج وفد من وجهاء قرية البشير التركمانية

April 6, 2011 at 3:33 pm | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment
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 http://www.kerkuk.net/ar/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=24:2011-04-06-13-21-26&catid=7:flash&Itemid=8    
Wednesday, 06 April 2011 15:18

استقبل الدكتور سعد الدين أركيج رئيس الجبهة التركمانية العراقية بمكتبه الرسمي في رئاسة الجبهة التركمانية العراقية بكركوك وفد من وجهاء قرية البشير التركمانية .

وجرى خلال اللقاء بحث آخر المستجدات على الساحة العراقية عامة والتركمانية خاصة .

وخلال ترحيبه بالوفد الزائر أكد السيد اركيج على ” أن الجبهة التركمانية ومن مبدأ إيمانها بحل جميع المشاكل بالطرق القانونية وانطلاقا من حرصها على الحقوق التركمانية المشروعة نشرت مؤخرا عن طريق دائرتها القانونية إعلانا دعت فيه ” المواطنين التركمان المقيمين داخل العراق وخارجها ممن سبق وإطفاء أراضيهم من قبل النظام السابق والتي تقرر رد دعاويهم من قبل هيئات دعاوي الملكية العقارية مراجعة تلك الهيئات مجددا لغرض إقامة دعاويهم وخلال مدة أقصاها نهاية شهر نيسان الحالي من اجل استرجاع أراضيهم بالوسائل القانونية “.

وبالنسبة لقضية قرية بشير التركمانية ، انتقد السيد اركيج موقف الحكومة المركزية في معالجتها لهذه القضية الإنسانية التي كان وما زال أهاليها ومع أهالي قرى يايجي وكومبتلر وتركلان وبلاوة ومنطقتي تسعين والقلعة من المتضررين من جراء ممارسات العهد السابق ، مطالبا السلطات الحكومية ” بضرورة العمل الجاد والحقيقي لغلق ملفات المناطق التركمانية المتضررة أبان النظام السابق وتعويض متضرريها ماديا ومعنويا ” .

وقد عير الحاضرون وعلى رأسهم السيد شمس الدين توركمن اوغلو مسؤول الجبهة التركمانية العراقية _ فرع البشير عن ” تمسكهم بحقوقهم في أراضيهم التي صودرت من قبل النظام السابق ” ، مؤكدين على ” أنهم سيبقوا يعملون على استرجاع حقوقهم بالوسائل القانونية ” ، معلنين في الوقت ذاته على ” التفافهم تحت راية الجبهة التركمانية العراقية كونها الممثل الشرعي الوحيد للتركمان “.

 كركوك نت

 

Iraq: Clashes between the original Turkmen inhabitants of Beshir and the Arabs who were installed on their ancestral lands by the Ba’ath regime in the 1980s.

February 15, 2011 at 2:00 am | Posted in Turkmens | 1 Comment
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Clashes between the original Turkmen inhabitants of Beshir * and the Arab immigrants who were installed in the area by the Ba’ath regime in the 1980s in order to arabise the Turkmen region of Kerkuk.

* Note: The ordeals of the Turkmens of Beshir are mentioned in the Preamble of the Iraqi Constitution together with the tragedy of the Arabs of Al-Dujail and the massacre of the Kurds of Halabja. (Please see below).

On Friday 11th February 2011, several news agencies reported that three people were killed due to “a tribal dispute between Turkmen and Arab tribes in Beshir” and that eight people were wounded, but these reports did not give the reasons which are at the origin of this incident.

For the reader to understand why Turkmens demonstrated against the construction of houses by Arab immigrants in Beshir it is necessary to give some details about the tragic history of this Turkmen village.

Beshir is a large Turkmen agricultural village of more than 7.500 inhabitants, it  is situated 20 km to the South West of Kerkuk city. The inhabitants of Beshir were landowners and farmers, they cultivated their lands and produced cereals, fruit and vegetables, they also raised livestock, mainly ovine and bovine. Their ancestors had settled in the area and built the village several centuries ago.

During the Ottoman rule and after decades of cultivating their lands, Beshir’s inhabitants had registered their lands officially in their names and they were issued official land property certificates or “deeds”, which they renewed during the early years of the newly founded Iraqi state in 1921.

In the early 1980s, after the start of the Iraq-Iran war, and despite the enrolment of several hundreds of young Turkmens from Beshir in the army to fight against Iran, the Iraqi security forces arrested hundreds of intellectuals from Beshir accusing them of being activists in the outlawed Islamic Da’wa Party, over one hundred of these Turkmen intellectuals were later executed.

Forced displacement of population is a crime against humanity

In 1986, while the young men of Beshir were fighting on the front in the war against Iran, their families were subjected to terrible human rights abuses by the Iraqi regime:  they were given 48 hours to pack their personal effects and leave their homes and were forcibly moved to some communal compounds which had been built in a rush to serve as ‘transitional residence’ on the road to Tikrit.

Their houses were razed to the ground and their agricultural lands were confiscated and  were later given to Arabs brought by the Ba’ath regime from the centre and south of Iraq, and to neighbouring Arab tribes, in application of a policy designed to arabise Turkmen towns and villages in Kerkuk province.

Each of these Arab families were given 10.000 Iraqi Dinars in cash (equivalent to 30.000 USD) as incentive to build their house on Turkmen lands, while the unfortunate Turkmens were displaced without any valid reason or any legal justification and without receiving any compensation.

After a year spent in the communal compounds almost all the Turkmen families from Beshir were dispersed to several cities throughout Iraq, i.e. Basra, Diyala, Erbil, Kut etc. without being provided with housing and without being compensated for the loss of their livelihoods, houses and agricultural lands. From being landowners and farmers they became refugees in their own country and were left completely destitute.

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

In April 2003 when the U.S. military occupied the north of 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, but the Arabs refused to budge.

As the displaced Turkmens threatened to march on the village in order to remove the immigrant Arabs by force the U.S. occupation authorities intervened, they led and controlled a “mediation” in September 2003, but this mediation did not settle the property dispute it was only a ‘short-term agreement’ which allowed the Arab families living in Beshir to stay on the land for the Winter agricultural season on a non-renewable basis, it granted them the Winter harvest. The requirement was that they would leave the village within one year of the signing of the ‘agreement’. After this one year period the Turkmens who were the original inhabitants of Beshir would be allowed to return on their ancestral lands.

7 years have passed since this ‘agreement’ and the Arabs still refuse to leave Beshir and return the lands to their original Turkmen owners. To make things worse they have now started to build more houses on Turkmen lands.

Note: The Arabs who were given Turkmen lands + a sum of 10,000 Iraqi Dinars to build their houses + agricultural lands belonging to the Turkmens (in the 1980s) and who accept to leave are now entitled to an additional sum of money from the Iraqi government to help them return to the region they came from.

Turkmens continue to be victims of discrimination.

On 11th February 2011, as Turkmens of Beshir demonstrated peacefully to show their disagreement about the new constructions, saying that Arabs were violating the agreement, that only agriculture is permitted on the land and not construction, some Arabs started to attack them.

The original Turkmen inhabitants of Beshir who were victims of deportation under the former Iraqi regime have shown great patience,  they have never resorted to violence,  they have followed the procedures set up by the Iraqi Properties Claims Commission and in 2005 they handed their complaints together with copies of their deeds to the Commission in order to get back their confiscated lands and be compensated for the destruction of their houses and for their loss of earnings since 1986, but the Iraqi authorities are in no haste to process the files belonging to Turkmens.

Since 2005 only 2.000 files out of the 45.000 files belonging to Turkmens have been processed. This is clearly a sign of discrimination against Turkmens as in Kerkuk, all the ‘pending files’ belong to Turkmens, and  all the Kurds who submitted their files have already been compensated.

See:

Human Rights Watch Report

Claims in Conflict : Reversing Ethnic Cleansing in Northern Iraq

Case Study: Al-Bashir village

http://www.hrw.org/en/node/11985/section/8

Translation of Full Text of the Iraqi Constitution was published in the Washington Post, hereunder The text of THE PREAMBLE

 It was translated from the Arabic by the United Nation’s Office for Constitutional Support, and the translation was approved by the Iraqi government.

THE PREAMBLE

In the name of God, the most merciful, the most compassionate

We have honored the sons of Adam.

We are the people of the land between two rivers, the homeland of the apostles and prophets, abode of the virtuous imams, pioneers of civilization, crafters of writing and cradle of numeration. Upon our land the first law made by man was passed, the most ancient just pact for homelands policy was inscribed, and upon our soil, companions of the Prophet and saints prayed, philosophers and scientists theorized and writers and poets excelled.

Acknowledging God’s right over us, and in fulfillment of the call of our homeland and citizens, and in response to the call of our religious and national leaderships and the determination of our great (religious) authorities and of our leaders and reformers, and in the midst of an international support from our friends and those who love us, marched for the first time in our history toward the ballot boxes by the millions, men and women, young and old, on the thirtieth of January two thousand and five, invoking the pains of sectarian oppression sufferings inflicted by the autocratic clique and inspired by the tragedies of Iraq’s martyrs, Shiite and Sunni, Arabs and Kurds and Turkmen and from all the other components of the people and recollecting the darkness of the ravage of the holy cities and the South in the Sha’abaniyya uprising and burnt by the flames of grief of the mass graves, the marshes, Al-Dujail and others and articulating the sufferings of racial oppression in the massacres of Halabcha, Barzan, Anfal and the Fayli Kurds and inspired by the ordeals of the Turkmen in Basheer and as is the case in the remaining areas of Iraq where the people of the west suffered from the assassinations of their leaders, symbols and elderly and from the displacement of their skilled individuals and from the drying out of their cultural and intellectual wells, so we sought hand in hand and shoulder to shoulder to create our new Iraq, the Iraq of the future free from sectarianism, racism, locality complex, discrimination and exclusion.

Accusations of being infidels, and terrorism did not stop us from marching forward to build a nation of law. Sectarianism and racism have not stopped us from marching together to strengthen our national unity, and to follow the path of peaceful transfer of power and adopt the course of the just distribution of resources and providing equal opportunity for all.

We the people of Iraq who have just risen from our stumble, and who are looking with confidence to the future through a republican, federal, democratic, pluralistic system, have resolved with the determination of our men, women, the elderly and youth, to respect the rules of law, to establish justice and equality to cast aside the politics of aggression, and to tend to the concerns of women and their rights, and to the elderly and their concerns, and to children and their affairs and to spread a culture of diversity and defusing terrorism.

We the people of Iraq of all components and shades have taken upon ourselves to decide freely and with our choice to unite our future and to take lessons from yesterday for tomorrow, to draft, through the values and ideals of the heavenly messages and the findings of science and man’s civilization, this lasting constitution. The adherence to this constitution preserves for Iraq its free union, its people, its land and its sovereignty.

 

Below is one of the articles published by Reuters:

KIRKUK, Iraq | Fri Feb 11, 2011 10:51am EST

KIRKUK, Iraq (Reuters) – A tribal dispute between Arabs and Turkmen over land near Iraq’s oil-rich northern city of Kirkuk led to clashes that killed three people and wounded another eight Friday, police and provincial officials said.

The incident began with a  demonstration by Turkmen tribes against Arabs who were building houses in the village of Basheer, 15 km ( miles) southwest of Kirkuk, local police said.

Longstanding differences between Arabs, Kurds and Turkmen over land and oil in Kirkuk and Iraq’s other disputed northern territories are considered a potential flashpoint for future conflict in Iraq.

Authorities said the Turkmen were concerned the construction would deepen the Arab presence in an area they see as their own.

“Three people were killed due to a tribal dispute between Turkmen and Arab tribes in Basheer,” said Serhat Qader, a police official based in Kirkuk.

Provincial officials said three Arabs were killed in the clash, while the eight wounded were from both sides.

Direct clashes between Turkmen and Arabs in the disputed areas have been rare.

Najat Hussein, a Turkmen member of Tamim provincial council, said the Turkmen were demonstrating “peacefully” against the recent construction, which he said violated a five-year-old agreement between Arabs and Turkmen in the area.

“A part of the deal is that only agriculture (not construction) is permitted,” he said.

Mohammed Khalil, an Arab member of the council, said: “It was not a peaceful demonstration.”

Kirkuk, about 250 km (155 miles) north of Baghdad, sits atop some of the world’s richest oilfields. Iraq’s semi-autonomous northern Kurdish region claims Kirkuk for its own.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/02/11/us-iraq-violence-kirkuk-idUSTRE71A46H20110211

(Reporting by Mustafa Mahmoud; Writing by Waleed Ibrahim; Editing by Jim Loney and Jon Hemming)

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