Iraqi Turkmen representatives invited at the 6th European Parliament – Iraq Interparliamentary Meeting (VIDEO)December 17, 2015 at 1:17 pm | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment
Tags: Ayden Hilmi Aksa, Dr Hassan Aydinli, Ershad Salihi, EU Parliament IRAQ interparliamentary mtg
Iraqi Turkmen representatives were invited at the 6th European Parliament – Iraq Interparliamentary Meeting – on 3rd December 2015.
photo above: the Chair of the Delegation for relations with IRAQ, Mr. David Campbell Bannerman MEP – Iraqi Turkmen Front EU Representative Dr. Hassan Aydinli, and the President of Human Rights Commission at the Iraqi Parliament and ITF President, Mr. Arshad Salihi.
Introduction by the Chair of the Delegation for relations with IRAQ, Mr. David Campbell Bannerman MEP and by the Chair of the Iraqi Parliamentary Delegation, Mr. Dhafer Salman (see photo above) also on this photo H.E. the Ambassador of Iraq to the Kingdom of Belgium.
The President of Human Rights Commission at the Iraqi Parliament and ITF President Mr. Arshad Salihi
The recording of this event is available on: our multidevice player.
For Mr. Arshad Salihi’s speech please see at 2:10
Key speakers :
Mr. Elmark Brok, AFET Chair and AFCO Member
Mr. Yousif Mohammad Sadiq, Speaker of the Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Parliament
Mr. John O’Rourke, Head of Division Arabian Peninsula, Iran and Iraq at the European External Action Service
Mr. Struan Stevenson, former Chairman of the EP Delegation for Relations with Iraq.
ITF EU representative Dr. Hassan Aydinli and Mr Ayden Hilmi Aksa, Foreign Relations Advisor Republic of IRAQ Council of Representatives.
Mr. William Spencer, Intl. Institute for Law and Human Rights, Executive Director, Iraqi Turkmen Front EU representative Dr. Hassan Tawfiq Aydinli and the President of Human Rights Commission at the Iraqi Parliament and ITF President Mr. Arshad Salihi
please find the links to the web-streaming recording hereunder:
Dr. Hassan Aydinli, ITF EU Representative and Mr. Niyazi Mimar Oğlu, Member of the Iraqi Council of Representatives at the European ParliamentOctober 24, 2015 at 9:11 pm | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment
Tags: Dr Hassan Aydinli, European Parliament Strasbourg, Mr Niyazi Mimar Oglu
Dr Hassan Aydinli, ITF EU Representative’s comment re: U.S. draft bill to arm Kurdish peshmergas and Sunni militiasMay 3, 2015 at 4:52 pm | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment
Tags: Abu Ghraib, Dr Hassan Aydinli, Dr Hassan Aydinli's comment
Very pertinent comment by Dr HASSAN AYDINLI, ITF EU Representative, regarding the U.S. draft bill to arm exclusively the Kurdish peshmerga militias and the Sunni militias in Iraq :
“The US Administration must know once and for all, that the geography of IRAQ as country and the unity of its people composed of Arabs, Kurds, Turkmens, Assyrians, Chaldeans,Yezidis, Shabaks, Saabi and Mandeans ARE NOT FOR SALE in front of their Congress!
The US Congress Armed Services Committee’s proposed bill to allocate 720 million dollars aid to Iraq with outrageous conditions is an insult to the dignity of the Iraqi People.
The Iraqi people’s message to the US Administration is a clear cut message : U.S., keep your proposed 720 million dollars so-called ‘aid’, but start paying your OVERDUE WAR DAMAGE BILL TO IRAQ (since 20th March 2003) which amounts to at least ONE TRILLION US DOLLARS.”
Hassan Tawfiq Aydinli.
NEW YORK – The United Nations has expressed concern that a $612 billion defense bill now before the US Congress will further militarizing the situation in Iraq by arming “non-state” groups, namely the Sunni Arabs and Kurds.
The draft bill, which was approved 60-2 in the House Armed Services Committee on Thursday, calls for at least 25 percent of the total US aid to Iraqi forces be allocated to the Kurdish Peshmerga, Sunni tribal militias and a force to be formed called the Iraqi Sunni National Guard. The bill is expected to be voted on in the House of Representatives the week of May 12.
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 MosulMarch 1, 2015 at 2:54 am | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment
Tags: Beshir, Dr Hassan Aydinli, Europe Turkmen Friendships, Iraq's Minorities, Iraqi Turkmens, ISIS, UNPO, William Spencer
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.
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.
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.
ITC Avrupa Birliği Temsilcisi, Dr Hassan Aydınlı, Irak Türkmenlerine yapılan İnsan Hakları ve mülkiyet hakkı ihlallerinin Avrupa Parlamentosunda tartışmasını ve durumun Türkmenler lehine düzeltilmesi yönünde Irak Hükümetine baskı yapılması için girişimlerde bulunmuştur.December 3, 2013 at 12:52 pm | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment
Tags: Dr Hassan Aydinli, Marino Busdachin Speech in Turkish
ITC Avrupa Birliği Temsilcisi, Dr Hassan Aydınlı, Irak Türkmenlerine yapılan İnsan Hakları ve mülkiyet hakkı ihlallerinin Avrupa Parlamentosunda tartışmasını ve durumun Türkmenler lehine düzeltilmesi yönünde Irak Hükümetine baskı yapılması için girişimlerde bulunmuştur.
Marino Busdachin, UNPO Genel Sekreteri.
Dr Hassan Aydinli ve Barbara Lochbihler hanımefendi AP’nun Insan Hakları Komitesi Başkanı
Dr Hassan Aydınlı ITC Avrupa Birliği Temsilcisi
Tunne Kelam AP’nun Dişişleri Komisyon üyesi
Dr Hassan Aydinli, ITF EU Representative attended the Delegation for relations with Iraq Meeting at the EU ParliamentMay 31, 2012 at 4:10 pm | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment
Tags: Dr Hassan Aydinli, Lahebib Adami, Mohammed Abdullah Al-Humaimidi
European Parliament Brussels – 29th May 2012
Iraqi Parliamentarians representing ‘Iraq’s ethnic and religious minorities’ at the EU Parliament in BrusselsOctober 6, 2011 at 8:19 pm | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment
Tags: Chaldeo-Assyrians, Dr Hassan Aydinli, Iraq's Minorities, Iraq's minorities reps at the EU Parl, Iraqi Parliamentarians at the EU Parliament, ITF EU representative, Mandeans-Sabeans, Meeting at EU Parliament, Members Iraqi Council Reps at the EU Parliament, Shabaks, Turkmens, Yezidis
Iraqi Parliamentarians, representing the Shabak, Yezidi, Chaldeo-Assyrian, Mandean-Sabean minorities with MEP Struan Stevenson, Chairman Iraq Delegation, and other Members of the EU Parliament
Iraqi Turkmen Front EU Representative Dr Hassan Aydinli with MEP Tunne Kelam, Group of the European People’s Party
ITF EU Representative Dr Hassan Aydinli with MEP Alexandra Thein, Group of the Alliance of Liberals & Democrats for Europe
BRUSSELS, 5th October 2011
Iraqi Parliamentarians representing ‘Iraq’s ethnic and religious minorities’ at the European Parliament in Brussels.
Fourteen Iraqi Parliamentarians representing the Chaldeo-Assyrian, Shabak, Yezidi and Mandaean-Sabean communities met with the EU Parliament’s Delegation for Relations with Iraq on 5th October 2011.
The Iraqi delegation was composed of:
Mr Younadam KENNA
Mr Amin FARHAN
Miss Ameena SAID
Miss Vian DAKHIL
Mr Hussain NERMO
Mr Meham KHALEEL
Miss Basma PITRUS
Mr Luis GARO
Mr Qasim BIRGIS
Mr Sharif SULAYMAN
Mr Khalid ROOMI
Mr Kaliss EISHO
Mr Imad YAKO
Mr Mohammed JAMSHEED
The meeting was chaired by MEP Struan Stevenson, President of the Iraq Delegation.
MEP Esther De Lange, Vice-President of the Iraq Delegation, and MEPs Ana Gomes, Tunne Kelam, Alexandra Thein and Jelko Kacin attended the meeting.
MEP Struan Stevenson informed the assembly that the Minorities Caucus in the Iraqi Council of Representatives was formed in July 2010 and that its aim is to develop a concrete plan of potential legislative action that stands to include reform of Iraq’s personal status law, local administration legislation, an anti-discrimination law and reform of Iraq’s educational curriculum.
The meeting has been organized with the help of :
– the Iraqi Council of Representatives,
– the European Parliament Delegation for relations with Iraq,
– the Institute for International Law and Human Rights,
– the U.S. Institute of Peace
With the support of :
UNPO (the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization) and
No Peace Without Justice.
The Chairman Mr. Struan Stevenson started the meeting by saying that in the European Union we are all minorities, even Germany with its 82 million people is a ‘minority’, and that we Europeans have learned to work together. He added that over 23% of the population of Iraq is non-Arab and that these non-Arab communities are victims of discrimination and assimilation and that their survival in Iraq is threatened.
Mr. Struan Stevenson informed the delegation that in November a big conference on Christian minorities would be held in the Lebanon.
Ms. Esther De Lange MEP, welcomed the 14-member delegation, saying that it is the first minority delegation from Iraq to be invited at the European Parliament. She added that the delegation would also meet with the EU Commission. Ms. De Lange said that the EU Parliament would like to have concrete examples of the delegation’s demands.
Mr. Younadam Kenna, Member Iraqi Council of Representatives, representing the Chaldeo-Assyrian community, was the first to take the floor, he spoke in the name of the delegation, informing the assembly of the main problems the minorities are facing in Iraq, namely regarding the unfair distribution of budget funds, the executive law system which is still the one which was used under Saddam Hussein, the pernicious law for women in the Kurdistan region where honour killings still take place, law of oil and gas repartition, religious prejudice, lack of education in the language of the minorities in the Mosul region, the
problem of the return of refugees belonging to the minorities, etc. He asked the help and the support of the European Union to help resolve all these problems.
Other members of the Iraqi delegation spoke about their communities’ continued suffering due to forced displacement, land confiscation, wars, lack of justice, lack of security, bureaucracy, unfair repartition of funds for the minority communities.
Miss Vian Dakhil, Member Iraqi Council of Representatives, representing the Yezidi community, spoke in the name of all
women belonging to minorities in Iraq. She called for the support and help of the European Parliament for these women.
Mr. Mohammed Jamsheed, Member Iraqi Council of Representatives, representing the Shabak community, recommended that the EU pay special attention to the Province of Ninewah because this is where 90% of the problems of the minorities are concentrated.
Mr. Kaliss Eisho, Member Iraqi Council of Representatives, representing the Chaldeo-Assyrian community, asked
for an autonomous region for the Chaldeo-Assyrians in the Ninewah Plains.
Mr. Amin Farhan, Member Iraqi Council of Representatives, President of the Eyzidin Movement for Reform and Progress and its parliamentary faction, spoke with force and conviction about the need for the Committee for the Revision of the Constitution in Iraq to include at least one member of each community. He said that there is no democracy in Iraq, that minorities are threatened and that they should have the means to protect themselves. Mr. Amin Farhan said that he had asked Prime Minister Nouri Maliki to reinstate the old Yezidi army and police officers and that Maliki had agreed for the return of 332 of them, but that the Chief of Staff of the Iraqi army in Baghdad, a Kurd, had refused to reinstate them. He said that although he is a Member of the Iraqi Parliament, the Kurdish Regional Authorities do not allow him to visit his family in his home town Shikhan in the north of Iraq. Mr. Farhan spoke of the lack of freedom of expression in the Kurdish Region for Yezidis, informing the assembly that the Kurds are refusing them to distribute a Yezidi newspaper in their region.
All the members of the Iraqi delegation asked for help and moral support from the European Union, saying that they hoped the EU Parliament would make a statement on Iraq’s minorities. They also expressed the hope that Members of the EU Parliament would visit the Iraqi Parliament frequently and that additional EU consulates would be opened in Iraq’s main northern cities.
Iraqi Turkmen Front EU representative, Dr. Hassan Aydinli, attended the conference. He met individually with the members of the Iraqi Parliament, questioning them about the situation of their respective communities in Iraq and he encouraged them to express themselves freely and without fear.
Dr. Aydinli met with Mr. Struan Stevenson, Chairman of the Iraq Delegation and with MEPs Tunne Kelam and Alexandra Thein, he informed them about the upcoming Turkmen Hearing by the subcommittee on Human Rights at the EU Parliament on 5th December 2011, he also updated them about the continued targeting of Turkmen intellectuals, businessmen and political leaders in the north of Iraq and about the failure and unwillingness of the Iraqi authorities and local authorities to provide adequate protection for the Turkmen community in the north of Iraq.
ITF EU Representative Dr. Hasan Aydinli attended the Conference “The City of Kashgar” at the EU ParliamentFebruary 1, 2011 at 2:23 am | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment
Tags: Dr Hassan Aydinli, Kashgar, Kerkuk, Uyghurs
The City of Kashgar
An Oasis of the Silk Road on the Brink of Extinction
Conference at the EU Parliament
on 27th January 2011
Organised by the Office of Frieda Brepoels MEP
In collaboration with
UNPO & Belgian Uyghur Association
In this photo: Mr. Marino Busdachin, Ms. Frieda Brepoels MEP, Mr. Andrew Swan (UNPO), Mrs. Rebiya Kadeer and Mr. Mehmet Tohti.
“What was not achieved by Genghis Khan is being done in the so-called name of progress.” This is the view of Rebiya Kadeer, Nobel Peace Prize nominee and President of the World Uyghur Congress, on the steady and unrelenting destruction of the historic Silk Road city of Kashgar.
Without meaningful public consultation and omitted from applications to UNESCO’s World Heritage listing, Kashgar’s unique urban fabric is being lost day by day, month by month as the resul of the Chinese Communist Party politics. Cities have embraced the twenty-first century without losing their identity – but Kashgar is losing its identity as Beijing’s central policy seeks to transform the city into a touristic theme park.
Marino Busdachin, General Secretary of the UNPO, places Kashgar in a regional context in which “any culture which is not state-sanctioned is endangered – Lhasa has been destroyed, Beijing’s Gulou district will become, without irony, the Beijing Time Cultural City – cultural genocide is real and it is happening now.”
Abdymutalip Imerov, President of the Belgian Uyghur Association, stressed that Kashgar represented a “jewel of Uyghur culture, not only for the Uyghurs of China but for all the Uyghurs of the world.”
After the opening remarks by Frieda Brepoels MEP (Greens/EFA), Marino Busdachin, General Secretary (UNPO) and Rebiya Kadeer, President (World Uyghur Congress) presentations were made by: Haiyun Ma (Laogai Research Foundation), Mehmet Tohti (World Uyghur Congress), Henryk Szadziewski (Uyghur Human Rights Project), Ulrich Delius (Society for Threatened Peoples), Vincent Metten (International Campaign for Tibet) and Suzanne van Haeverbeeck (former World Heritage Expert).
The participants stressed the importance of preserving the Turkic/Uyghur identity of the city of Kashgar which is over 2000 years old. The city which is situated in the north-west of China is threatened with destruction. In the coming five years about 200,000 people are to be re-housed in so-called earthquake-proof apartment buildings. The project which began on 27th February 2009, involves the destruction of 85 pervent of the basic fabric, which is centuries old. Kashgar has the reputation of being the most important Islamic town in central Asia in terms of cultural history. Only 15 percent of the old houses are to be retained in the framework of an open-air museum to present to the 1.5 million tourists – from home and abroad – the old Islamic culture.
Henryk Szadziewski reminded us that Kashgar is the city of Mahmud Kashgari who wrote the first comprehensive dictionary of Turkic languages, the Dīwānu l-Luġat al-Turk (Arabic: “Compendium of the languages of the Turks”) in 1072 which was intended for use by the Caliphs of Baghdad. author of the first comprehensive dictionary in 10th century. He also said that Kashgari’s Madrasa was destroyed in June 2009.
According to Ulrich Delius, the people affected (Uyghurs) have not been properly brought into the process of planning the project. They complain that they are not given adequate information on the forthcoming resettlement. By the middle of June 2009 some 5 percent of the Old Town, including several districts and streets had been destroyed.
In the past Kashgar has been the capital of many Uyghur kingdoms, therefore, destroying Kashgar is not only the destruction of a city but it is the destruction of the identity of the Uyghurs. The Han Chinese want to assimilate the Uyghurs, they are moving in massively in order to change the ethnic composition of the city. The destruction of the Old Town of Kashgar is a massive attempt of the Chinese authorities to secure their control over the Uyghurs at any price. But for Kashgar and the Uyghurs it is a catastrophe. The existing tensions between the Uyghurs and the Chinese administration and between different ethnic groups will be aggravated even further.
The Society for Threatened Peoples made several recommendations: that the Chinese authorities immediately stop the resettlement and the destruction of the Old Town of Kashgar, that the Old Town of Kashgar be placed under the protection of the World Cultural Heritage of the United Nations, that the immigration and settlement of Han Chinese be prevented in new estates in Kashgar and in the whole autonomous region of Xinjiang.
ITF EU representative Dr. Hassan Aydinli spoke to the organiser of the conference, MEP Frieda Brepoels, about the city of KERKUK, the Turkmens’ cultural capital in Iraq, saying that KERKUK, as KASHGAR, deserves to receive the attention of international organisations such as UNESCO, the Society for Threatened Peoples, etc. He informed her that under the arabization policy of the former regime several important Turkmen monuments and traditional Turkish houses in Kerkuk had been destroyed and that since April 2003 when the U.S. military allowed the Kurdish Peshmerga to invade and occupy the city the Kurds too were trying to obliterate the city’s Turkmen character .
MEP Frieda Brepoels who was a practising architect before turning her energies to Belgian politics and before being elected in 2004 to the EU Parliament showed great interest when Dr. Aydinli spoke about the need to preserve the city’s Turkmen character by protecting and/or renovating its numerous ancient monuments, such as the Citadel and the traditional Turkish houses. To better illustrate the urgency of this matter Dr. Aydinli gave her a copy of Dr. Suphi Saatçi’s book “The Urban Fabric and Traditional Houses of Kirkuk”. Ms. Brepoels thanked him and said she would read it with great interest.
Traditional Uyghur musicians and dancers who gave a performance at the end of the conference.
ITF E.U. Representative, Dr. Hassan Aydinli, raised the problem of contamination by Depleted Uranium Ammunition used by the US in Iraq in a conference at the E.U. Parliament.December 4, 2010 at 7:50 pm | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment
Tags: Dr Hassan Aydinli, Nuclear Waste Management, US - UK Crimes against Humanity in Iraq, US use of Depleted Uranium in Iraq
ITF E.U. Representative, Dr. Hassan Aydinli, raised the problem of contamination by Depleted Uranium Ammunition used by the US in Iraq in a conference at the E.U. Parliament.
Dr. Hassan AYDINLI received an invitation from MEP Ms. Rebecca HARMS to attend the Expert Hearing & Presentation of the Study “Nuclear Waste Management in the EU” at the EU Parliament in Brussels on 1st December 2010.
Ms. Rebecca HARMS, co-President of the Greens/EFA made an extensive introduction concerning the EU agenda with its proposal for a Directive on Nuclear Waste Management.
She introduced two experts:
Mr. Wolfgang NEUMANN, Nuclear expert and physicist
Mr. Mycle SCHNEIDER, Independent analyst on energy and nuclear policy
Their presentations covered the following topics:
What is nuclear waste?
Where is nuclear waste generated?
Classification of radioactive waste
How dangerous is the nuclear waste
Waste Management for highly radioactive waste
Waste Management for waste with low and intermediate level of radioactivity
Waste Management for radioactive waste with very low activity level
Waste Management in the EU, RF and US
Situation and strategies in EU Member States
Strategies in the Russian Federation and in the USA
Following the presentations the attendees had the opportunity to put questions to the experts. Dr. Hassan Aydinli, as the Iraqi Turkmen Front representative in the EU, raised the issue of the contamination in Iraq caused by Depleted Uranium ammunition which has been used by the US-UK forces during their illegal war on Iraq in 2003.
He informed the assembly that he had received alarming reports on the rise of cancers in the Iraqi population and on the abnormal rates of birth deformities due to the use of Depleted Uranium (DU). He said that such cases were evident in the cities of Fallujah, Telafer and Nasseriyah.
He spoke of the appalling effects of DU contamination on the health of the Iraqi people, saying that a high number of babies were born with very grave abnormalities everywhere in Iraq where the US-UK had used these illegal weapons.
Addressing the two experts Dr. Hassan Aydinly asked: “What is the recourse for the Iraqi people, what can be done to decontaminate Iraq?”
The answer of expert Mr. Mycle SCHNEIDER was categorical:
YOU CANNOT DECONTAMINATE IRAQ!
At which Dr. Hassan Aydinli retorted: “In that case, if Iraq cannot be decontaminated and has become a hazardous and unhealthy country to live in and raise children for present and future generations, it is clear that the US-UK committed crimes against humanity in Iraq and logically the Iraqi people must receive compensations from those who are responsible for this catastrophe”. He added: “By the same logic, Iraqi people should be given parts of the USA and the UK as a substitute country for them to lead a normal life”.
At the end of the conference Dr. Hassan Aydinli was approached by several participants who were surprised to hear about the extent of the contamination in Iraq. They said they were very interested to have more information about D.U. contamination in Iraq. Dr. Aydinli told them he would send them the links to reports and studies which have already been published on this subject.
As promised, Dr. Aydinli has sent them information regarding studies made by:
– Dr. Souad N. AL-AZZAWI, former Professor of Environmental Engineering at Baghdad University and recipient of the 2003 Nuclear Free Future Award for her work on environmental contamination after the Gulf War in Iraq.
– Dr. Siegwart-Horst GÜNTHER, former colleague of Albert SCHWEITZER and author of the book : “Uranium Projectiles – Severely maimed soldiers – Deformed babies – Dying children. (1996). Dr. Siegwart-Horst GÜNTHER has made extensive research after the 1991 US war on Iraq.
Tags: Discrimination against Turkmens in Iraq, Dr Hassan Aydinli, Kurdish hegemony in North of Iraq
“The discrimination against the Turkmens in Iraq, their marginalization, the denial of their historical role and achievements in Iraq and the denial of their true representation as the third largest ethnic group in Iraq have been initiated by the British colonial authorities at the end of World War I in 1918, for geopolitical and economical reasons.” Dr. Hassan Aydinli – 15th December 2007
Hereunder is an excerpt from Dr. Hassan Aydinli’s paper – 15th December 2007 at Madrid Forum for a Just Peace in the Middle East
Effects of U.K. and U.S. Unilateralism on the Turkmens of Iraq since World War I.
As an Iraqi Turkmen I would like to bring to your attention the plight of the 3 million Turkmens of Iraq who are not only the victims of US-UK imperialism but also of Kurdish hegemony in the north of Iraq since 10th April 2003.
The 3 million Turkmens of Iraq represent 12% of the Iraqi population; they have lived in Iraq for over a millennium. The last reliable census data from Iraq, gathered in 1957, identifies the Turkmens as the third largest ethnic group in Iraq. In the north of Iraq Turkmens represent the second main ethnic group.
Iraqi Turkmens are the descendants of the Turkic Oghuz tribes of Central Asia who migrated in successive waves between the 7th and the 13th century to the west of their territories up to Anatolia and Mesopotamia (Iraq), they settled mainly in the northern and central regions of Iraq, in a diagonal strip of land stretching from the Syrian and Turkish border areas around the city of Tal Afar in the north-west of Iraq to the town of Mendeli on the Iranian border in Central Iraq, they are found principally in the following provinces: Kerkuk, Mosul, Erbil, Salah-al-Din, Diyala, Kut and Baghdad. Since many centuries the largest Turkmen population concentration is in the city of Kerkuk which is considered by the Iraqi Turkmens as their capital city and main cultural centre.
The Turkmen region in Iraq, called TURKMENELI, lies between the region inhabited by Kurds in the north and the region inhabited by Arabs in the South.
Turkmens have largely contributed to the political and cultural life in Iraq during the Abbassids, Seljuks, Atabegs, etc. They established their own states and Emirates in Iraq and ruled the country or parts of it for nine centuries (from 1055 to 1918). Iraqi Turkmen communities rose to prominence as administrators, merchants and politicians in particular under the Ottoman Empire.
The discrimination against the Turkmens in Iraq, their marginalization, the denial of their historical role and achievements in Iraq and the denial of their true representation as the third largest ethnic group in Iraq have been initiated by the British colonial authorities at the end of World War I in 1918, for geopolitical and economical reasons.
The British purposely underestimated the number of Turkmens to facilitate the separation of ‘Mosul Vilayat’ or ‘Mosul Province’ (now representing five Iraqi provinces: Mosul, Kerkuk, Erbil, Duhok and Suleymaniya) from the Ottoman Empire (Turkey) in order to control the huge oil reserves of Kerkuk which was then mainly inhabited by Turkmens.
Since Iraq became an independent state in 1921 the successive Iraqi governments have continued to undermine and marginalize the Turkmens for the same geopolitical and economical reasons. Under the previous regime the Turkmens have been victims of discrimination, deportation and property confiscation.
Today, four and a half years after the invasion and the occupation of Iraq by the US-UK forces, the 3 million Turkmens of Iraq continue to suffer from discrimination, marginalisation, ill-treatment and basic human rights violations and their ordeal continues as they are caught between hammer and anvil.
Indeed, the Turkmens continue to be constitutionally discriminated, institutionally marginalized and ill-treated as a community in Iraq by the political parties, who have been promoted and brought into power by the occupation forces.
The Kurdish political parties and their allies, who are dominating Iraqi politics since the occupation of the country in April 2003, have agreed – for strictly partisan reasons – to continue suppressing the Turkmens’ rights and their true representation in Iraq.
They continue denying the Turkmens the constitutional rights to be recognised as a main community of the country with rights equal to those granted to the Arabs and the Kurds in the new constitution of Iraq.
Since the occupation of Iraq in April 2003 the foreign occupation authorities administered the country by decree then by a “Provisional Administration Law” which was not approved by the Iraqi people. It became a Constitutional Law on 15th October 2005.
The contents and approval method of this Constitutional Law are debatable. The mistakes which had been made in the Provisional Administration Law regarding the Turkmens have been repeated in the new “permanent” constitution and the rights of the Turkmens continue to be openly usurped.
The Turkmens reject the new regime’s discriminatory policy, they have called for the boycott of the parliamentary elections under the occupation, and they have called to vote against the new constitution written under the occupation.
For all the above mentioned reasons the Turkmens have persistently called for the revision of the new Iraqi Constitution in order to obtain the constitutional rights for their community to be recognised as the third main community of Iraq as well as for the recognition of the Turkmen citizens’ basic human rights in Iraq as citizens of a multi-ethnic country with rights equal to those recognised to the Arabs and the Kurds.
The Turkmens, in addition to their share of misery and humiliation resulting from the foreign occupation of Iraq, also suffer since this occupation and because of it from the Kurdish hegemony in the north of Iraq and from the occupation and kurdification of their towns and cities by the Kurdish militias who are behaving as conquerors.
In order to change the demographics of Kerkuk in view of the upcoming census and referendum called for by Article 140 of the new constitution, the Kurdish political parties of Messrs Talabani and Barzani have organized the transport of over 600.000 Kurds from the Kurdish autonomous region as well as from neighbouring Syria, Turkey and Iran to Kerkuk. These ‘newly arrived Kurds’ have been given financial support and incentives, they have been issued forged identification cards and documents showing them as Kurds originally from Kerkuk who had been forcefully displaced by the former regime.
I would like to point out that the Swedish authorities have accused the Iraqi Embassy in Stockholm early this year of having issued some 26. 000 forged Iraqi passport to citizens from Syria, Turkey and Iran, similar accusations have been made in Vienna, Damascus, etc.
These cheatings and falsifications of the official records concerning the forcibly displaced Kurds from Kerkuk and the issuing of forged identification cards to these 600.000 Kurds newly installed in Kerkuk have been facilitated by the fact that the Kurdish militias (Peshmerga) looted the Population and the Property Registration Offices of Kerkuk and confiscated the archives and records on the first day they entered and occupied Kerkuk on the 10th April 2003, one day after the occupation of Baghdad, with the blessings of the U.S. occupier and as a reward for their collaboration during the invasion of Iraq.
In this regard it is important to note that:
– according to the ration card data base, considered by the United Nations to be a reliable source for information on the Iraqi population, some 12.000 families (Turkmens and Kurds) were expelled from Kerkuk under the previous regime, one third being Turkmens.
– until April 10, 2003, Kerkuk had 810.000 inhabitants and that today, after four and a half years of Kurdish control over Kerkuk its population is estimated to be over 1.5 million inhabitants, and that ALL the newcomers are Kurds.
Today, citing ‘Article 140’ of the constitution, the Kurds insist to start the ‘normalization process’ in Kerkuk Province. But their interpretation of ‘normalization’ is to establish Kurdish hegemony in a region of Iraq which is inhabited by Turkmens, Arabs and Kurds and which has never been part of ‘Kurdistan’. This is in order to implement the American-Israeli plan to divide Iraq in three regions, it has nothing to do with democracy or justice, it is simply a way to steal Iraq’s oil from the Iraqi people by allowing their Kurdish ‘allies’ to annex Kerkuk to the Kurdish Autonomous Region, and subsequently proclaim their independence, in view of the creation of a “Greater Kurdistan”, following the example of the Zionists plans for a “Greater Israel”.
These unfair and illegal methods practiced by the Kurds in Kerkuk will lead to disaster if they are not stopped and remedied before a census which will decide on the fate of the city.
It should also be noted that the CIA and the U.S. Special Forces armed and supported thousands of Kurdish Peshmerga troops to fight against the Iraqi forces in 2003 and that British Special Forces and the Israeli Mossad are training the Kurdish commandos in the north of Iraq.
Turkmens are constantly targeted in Iraq by the Kurdish militias, by the militias belonging to some extremist parties, by foreign terrorist groups operating in the north of Iraq and by the U.S. occupation forces.
They have suffered a great number of casualties as a consequence of attacks on their community in Amirli, Altun Kopru, Beshir, Kerkuk, Tavik, Taza, Telafer, Tisin, Tuz Hurmato, etc. Furthermore, in order to silence them the Turkmens are now being subjected to death threats, property and land confiscations, imprisonment, torture, kidnappings and assassinations. Hundreds of Turkmens have been arrested and thousands of them have been killed.
Turkmens are the only community in Iraq which does not have weapons and militias; they are seeking to obtain their rights by democratic and peaceful means, but because they do not have militias they are very vulnerable and the existence of their community is contested and its future in Iraq is seriously endangered.
As true Iraqi patriots the Turkmens are strongly opposed to the balkanisation of Iraq, they consider that the disputed city of Kerkuk should have a special status, as the fate of the city is vital for all of Iraq and a planned referendum on its status should be held across the country, not in Kerkuk only as intended now.
The Turkmens declare that Kerkuk is an Iraqi city and all the people of Iraq should decide on its fate. A referendum to be held only in Kerkuk would not be acceptable and valid since it is extremely easy to manipulate election results in the city. The issue of Kerkuk’s status is potentially explosive for Iraq, and ethnic conflict over the city could spark violent clashes and even a civil war across Iraq, that could eventually lead to disintegration of the country.
The Turkmens of Iraq want a free, united and democratic Iraq, where all Iraqis: Arabs, Kurds, Turkmens, Chaldeo-Assyrians and others, live in harmony and peace. They are calling upon the international community and all peace loving people to support the Iraqi people in their struggle to liberate their country from the occupation and to obtain just compensation for all the moral and material damages they have suffered.
Dr. Hassan T. Walli Aydinli
Committee for the Defence of the Iraqi Turkmens’ Rights – Belgium