Interview with Iraqi Turkmen Front Turkey Representative Hicran Kazancı

March 18, 2012 at 10:52 am | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment
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Interview with Iraqi Turkmen Front Turkey Representative Hicran Kazancı

Can you assess the internal and external policies of the Turkmen during the new phase?


Ever since 2003 Iraq has been going through difficult and painful times. The negative impact left by the Saddam administrations is still strongly felt in social, cultural, political and economic areas. Iraq, which has not been able to achieve the progress it deserves in spite of all its natural and human resources as the result of the wars and insurgence, is going through a major changing process. This change process has had a major impact on such diverse areas as the administrative structure of the country to relations of political parties, from the role of the state in the economy to the relationship between ethnic and sectoral groups in the structure of the community.

The Turkmen are also receiving their share from this transition and change process. During recent years Turkmen have contributed to the Iraqi political life by undertaking various important duties in many parties and trends. It is now possible to see Turkmen in the upper echelons of the Iraqi bureaucracy as well as major parties. Naturally this situation is the result of the rich social life and activeness of the Turkmen in politics. However, this point should be accepted with candor; in spite of all the mistakes made in the past the Iraqi Turkmen Front (ITF) is the most powerful, organized, extensive and active political party established by the Turkmen in Iraq. Today no matter where you go in Iraq it is possible to come across the ITF.   ITF endeavors to serve within the majority of the Turkmeneli region within the scope of its resources. The ITF, which entered a shell changing phase in line with the change which took place in Iraq after the occupation, has commenced on a significant ascension process during the recent period. In the general elections of Iraq which took place on 07 March 2010 the ITF which obtained the right to send 6 MP’s to the parliament has also started a process of change within the party recently and as a result today ITF is more encompassing than ever with the dynamism resulting from the convergence of its young leadership and experienced politicians. The new phase is a time when diversities must be held together in harmony, when the Turkmen can have single voice and take steps together towards a common goal. At a time when Iraq is being rapidly rebuilt it is vital that the Turkmen have a clear idea of what they want, establish strategic goals and follow a policy of taking determined steps in this direction. As a result of the need for this strategy we are obliged to make recommendations for these concrete steps.

Where are the Turkmen in the political equation of contemporary Iraq?

The fact that the Turkmen are the third element in Iraq must not be forgotten. For this reason it is necessary that we take our place in the decision mechanism of Iraq after the Arabs and the Kurds. It is also mandatory in terms of the geopolitical, sociopolitical and historical facts of Iraq. As the ITF, we have raised the bar of political and economic expectations of the Iraqi Turkmen to match this reality. In addition, when universal human rights and the rights and freedoms of equal citizenship as a constitutional right are taken into consideration it is clear that the Turkmen must be actively involved in the politics of Iraq. For this reason the public is not overwhelmed when our enhanced expectations are not fully realized. At the same time since the current politics in Iraq   are unfortunately governed by ethnic and sectoral identities it is difficult to even enforce some articles which are in the constitutional law of Iraq. 

The reality of the situation which needs to be recognized by all is that the Turkmen have started to become a part of the political mechanism and decision making elements of Iraq. In other words the Turkmen have become a significant main factor and game setter in Iraq. One of the main reasons for this is that Turkey is an increasingly growing and valued power in the region. Having such a steady powerful spiritual support behind us has made the Turkmen a significant factor and game setter in Iraq. Another major reason is that the Turkmen represent a territorial sovereignty in Iraq; in addition it is an advantage for us that policies are not based on either Sunni or Shiite identities and thus political tensions based on ethnic-sectoral issues are not a consideration. In this context we are obliged to work to enhance our representation rate in the Baghdad based government and focus on increasing our representative numbers in the Arbil based government. In parallel with these efforts we are obliged to give special care to Telafer. The reason for this is that Telafer is significant to the unity and integrity of Turkmen. All these activities must be applied as a package, that is simultaneously. Doing one and concentrating on another while postponing the rest will do more harm than good.

You spoke the rising power of Turkey and that Turkey stood behind the Turkmen. Could you elaborate this subject for us? What is the level of support provided by Turkey to the Turkmen?

Yes, Turkey is a constant spiritual power behind us. Anything which can be attributed as positive and beneficial executed after the Saddam administration in Iraq was implemented on account of Turkey. Decisions favoring Turkmen such as the postponement of the Kirkuk referendum, deletion of article 23 from the Local Elections Law which envisaged equal administrative sharing in Kirkuk, increasing the representation rate of our members of parliament, entering the Iraqi Parliament were all achieved with the spiritual support of Turkey. In other words the rising power of Turkey has always been an inspiration to us Turkmen and made us feel safe.

During our visit to President Abdullah Gül he said to us: “The Iraqi Turkmen are our bridge to the other strata in Iraq. All the people there are our brothers but the Turkmen are kin, we have an emotional connection.” This statement made by the President of the Republic of Turkey proves the statements I made above.

A national conference is planned to resolve the most recent crisis in Iraq. Do you think this conference will resolve the crisis?

As you know one of the most important reasons of this political crisis is that none of the agreements made at the Arbil Conference in December of 2010 were realized. The most significant one was that Iyad Allavi, the leader of the El Iraqi list was going to become of the head of the Supreme Strategy Council which was to be established after the formation of the government. Since this did not realize İyad Allavi is continuing his struggle because he feels that he has been expelled from the political equation of Iraq. There is no such thing in Iraq as opposition.  The reason for the lack of opposition is that each political group has an armed group and whenever a political crisis accumulates these armed groups are mobilized. Since the beginning the ITF has called for the dissolution of these armed groups. The reason for the crisis is the failure to act on the decisions taken at the previous Arbil conference. Endeavoring to resolve this crisis with another national conference is nothing more than a waste of time.

A political crisis which is progressively deepening is taking place in Iraq after the withdrawal of the US troops. The reason for this is the lack of confidence among all the political groups in Iraq. Another reason is the fact that political struggle is based on ethnicity which makes it difficult to resolve the emerging political crises. It is significant for Ankara that this conference is executed in such an environment. A look at the situation shows that the power of Turkey is increasing in Iraq and the region. There are parties which are disturbed by Turkey’s position in the Middle East. Turkey does not have any conflicting thoughts about the region any more. It has a certain strategy. Turkey never fostered a role and political attitude promoting disorder, disruptiveness, discrimination or separation in Iraq. Quite the opposite, all ethnic groups have been supported in a constructive way. This can be observed from the efforts in the last elections which were made to ensure that all parties participate in the establishment of a national government.

Turkey is observing this conference closely and doing everything in its power to ensure that it is a success. In addition, the Turkmen are involved. From now on the Turkmen will not be excluded from any efforts to resolve problems in Iraq.  This situation has indicated that problems cannot be solved if Turkmen are excluded. I hope that this will resolve the lack of confidence among all the political groups in Iraq with goodwill and Iraq achieves political stability.

What can be done to achieve political stability in Iraq?

Stability will be achieved in Iraq when the sources of instability are eliminated. It is necessary to eliminate these sources as well as ethnic and sectoral polarization and additionally balance the regional interventions. Especially some regional states using their connections in Iraq create major problems. That is why it is important to establish a balancing mechanism between the states in the region. At this point it might be feasible to reinstate the “initiative of neighboring countries of Iraq” which was launched previously by Turkey. In the other hand the establishment of a “Iraq or Middle East Stability Pact” similar to the Balkan Stability Pact may become contemporary. In addition, it may be useful to involve regional organizations and mechanisms such as the Islamic Conference Organization, the Arab League, Gulf Cooperation Council. However, the most important feature at this point is to refrain from utilizing ideological issues. If the balance is disrupted this may destabilize Iraq even further. Perhaps the most significant reason for the instability in Iraq is the inability to resolve the security issues. It was assumed that with the withdrawal of US troops security in Iraq would increase whereas it seems to be getting worse.  One of the major factors is that each ethnic, sectoral and political groups have an armed force. One of the most important features to stop the activities of these forces is to establish a balanced and strong central government. However, it is also necessary to prevent corporate corruption. An ethnic balance must be restored in some state security units. The contribution of international military and security organizations such as  NATO or AGİT can be accepted in this subject.

Another important point is to ensure that the revenue from the petroleum is distributed fairly. As long the political groups and formations in Iraq view each other with suspicion this is not about to happen. For this reason it may be significant at this stage that the sharing of petroleum in Iraq is overseen by an international independent body. This does not mean that Iraq shall once more be under the mandate of an international supervisory body. This means only that for example a program for a mechanism for Iraq similar to those made by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for the countries in its organization is prepared. It may be beneficial to cooperate to study exemplary modellings of states and benefit from the experiences of these states in terms of the applied policies. On the other hand the lack of production in Iraq has reached peak level. Almost everything is imported. For this reason international investors must be lured into the country. It may contribute to the economic stability of Iraq to establish an organization such as the Black Sea economic cooperation organization or a regional common Customs Union or free-trade area.

Let us widen our area a bit further and step outside Iraq. How do you assess the recent developments in the Middle East?

For many people, particularly westerners, the Middle East is a region associated with problems and fostering terror.  However, an examination of the geographical characteristics reveals a completely different panorama from the perceived image. The Middle East is the cradle of all civilizations as well as the descension of all monotheistic religions. In addition, one third of the world’s total petroleum reserves are in the Middle East and these petroleum and natural gas reserves form an important export corridor into the external world.

The problems which have become chronic in the Middle East today are based on the events in the past. In other words, the political system of the international platform in general and in the Middle East in particular was established by those who triumphed in the Second World War. It Hitler’s Germany had won the war we would be talking about a completely different political order today. This political system which was erected by countries such as the United Kingdom and France and later designed by the US are based on the rule of minorities. To give a few examples the ruling power of Iraq during the Saddam regime was with the Sunnis although most of Iraq’s population consists of Shiites. Again, Syria is ruled by Shiites although the majority consists of Sunni citizens. In Libya Colonel Kaddafi’s tribe was the smallest one but still they were the dominant party. This situation is valid for many countries in the region.

Nowadays the Middle East is observed as a center for Money. The economic crisis in Euro Region countries such as Ireland, Portugal and Greece and the United Kingdom once described as “the country of the never setting sun” has brought the banks to the verge of bankruptcy and lead to a financial crisis in Europe and the USA. This has caused the center of money to flow from Europe to the Middle East. China, the rising power during the recent past, needs almost 65% of Middle Eastern petroleum to continue its giant economy. There are dictators in these countries who do not allow foreigners to invest. There is a well known political equation. A dictator oppresses the people. If freedom is brought to the country the people will reject the dictator and first the leader will be changed followed by the regime. One the new regime is incepted the country will allow foreign investment and necessary permissions will be given. So in those countries the cards are dealt again. Those who were victorious in the second world war are struggling to get a bigger share. If France had invested 20 billion in Libya as it has in Turkey, would Sarkozy attack Libya? 

How would you assess the Middle East within the framework of the Arab Spring?

In the globalizing world when countries are ruled with a strict nation state mentality they are obliged to struggle with realities and finally are doomed to disappointment. This is evident in Arab countries. It is evident that the administrations of countries which are being swept with the winds of the Arab Spring are those countries which endeavored to implement the same mentality which was applied in Iraq during the Saddam regime. They claim populism, they claim to have the support of the people yet refuse to recognize the rights and freedoms granted by the constitution to those speaking a different language, admitting to a different sect. The groups holding the reigns of power have discarded the basics of equality and started to drive sectoral policies. It was said that the winds of the Arab Spring would sweep the region with democracy and human rights. However, at this point it is evident that a conflict between the Shiite and Sunni are in the making. The efforts to extend this situation into the Middle East region are executed through Iraq. The mechanism has accelerated into a Sunni-Shiite combat in Iraq. We see the same thing in Lebanon. When the roots of problems are ignored the problems get deeper.

How to you assess the developments in Syria which is a neighbor to Turkey as well as Iraq?

Here like in Libya if western countries do not support those opposing the Head of State Beşşar Esad the uncertainly process will be extended. Syria was the scene of the first military coup in the Middle East. Syria which achieved its independence in 1956 experienced a military coup in 1949. The existing regime came to power in 1963. In 1966 the hawk wing of  the Baas party gained supremacy. In 1970 Hafız Esad seized power and established a dominant network based on the foundation of the Baas Party. The common name given to the army and intelligence units who were the main patrons of this power network was El-Muhabarat. There are four different intelligence units. These are political and security units, civilian intelligence, traditional military intelligence and the most feared and most powerful one of air intelligence.  The reason for this is that Hafız Esad who was involved in the 1963 coup was commander of the air forces. This is the reason why no military coups took place in Syria after 1963. A strong organization against the people was established. On the other hand,  there is the 240 strong Syria Security Council was established in Istanbul in August of 2001, the Syria National Committee which organizes internal insurgencies and the weak Free Syria Army. We see the struggle of a group which has not been well organized. As was the case with Libya, if the West does not provide support the process will be extended. Obama takes a different attitude. During the Bush regime there was an understanding of direct action; military was dispatched. This is not happening here. He himself remains in the background while supporting the groups and frankly inciting the people to turn on each other.

Where do you place Turkey in the Middle East?

As a result of the internal policies as well as the foreign policy model executed by Turkey during this period it has become practically a unique country in the world. This is because while on one hand the AK party administration promotes Islamic issues, on the other they are endeavoring to structure a country with a more liberal understanding of democracy and promote modernism. In addition, Turkey has the characteristics to be a “North Star” for the countries in the region for finding the right path rather than be a model country. Because of the sensitivity of its geographically strategic location, the cooperation of Turkey with the countries in the region will not remain on the economic level, it will cover areas of interdependency such as security. Turkey has the ability to conduct its political, economic and cultural relations with Arab Moslem states through various manners and channels which do not affect its ties with western countries. In the recent past Turkey has continued to maintain its national interests in addition to upholding universal human rights with both the Arab world as well as the West benefits; the relations with Arab countries are based on a flexible and multi-choice policy based on a pragmatic basis rather than a policy based on an idée fixe  standpoint. It endeavors to promulgate human values. Within this framework Turkey endeavors to cooperate with the countries in such a way which promotes the continuance of such ties. Geographically the proximity of the Middle East to Turkey with a large consumer market and large energy sources is a positive and commercial option for Turkey. On the other hand, if the political and economic reforms which promote the development of democracy are realized and the Middle Eastern countries achieve stability, confidence and peace, they may benefit and/or make an example of the characteristics of Turkey with its secular regime, liberal economy experience and being Muslim.

Thank you for sharing your views with us.

I thank you for giving me this opportunity and wish you success in your work.


Turhan Müftü visited the Iraqi Turkmen Front Turkey Representation

November 21, 2011 at 3:51 pm | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment
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State Minister responsible for the Provinces in Iraq Turhan Müftü visited Iraqi Turkmen Front Turkey Representation and shared views on the recent developments in Iraq.

               In the meeting between Kazancı and Müftü the recent situation in Iraq as well as what would be the outcome once the US withdraws from Iraq were discussed with a particular focus on security and how the situation could be enhanced.

      Iraqi Turkmen Front Turkey Representative Dr. Hicran Kazancı commented on the visit by saying , “ Minister Müftü represents both the school of real politics as well the young generation.  These characteristics are reflected in his work.

The fact that he has undersigned major works which have an impact on the future of the Turkmen is an indicator of this “.

        Dr. Kazancı quoted that Minister Müftü had had a major role in the acceptance of the Council of Ministers to have the Turkmen language accepted as a native language in regions with a populous Turkmen population.


May 26, 2011 at 9:07 am | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment
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Iraqi Turkmen Front Turkey Representative


With the dispersement of the Otoman empire many Turkish communities like the Turkmen in Iraq who had been separated from their homelands tried to harmonize with the state they had remained in. The Turkmen have tried to find a place for themselves within the complex structure which is made up of the political history of Iraq plagued with continuous internal political instabilities and wars ever since the state was established.

The Turkmen have always closely monitored Turkey and expected support when confronted with problems. On the other hand, because of the conditions of the state they live in, the Turkmen have been a community which it has been found necessary to monitor and supervise carefully for a long time by Turkey. However, the breaking point in the attitude of Turkey toward the Turkmen in Iraq took place after the war in 1991 and the establishment of the “security zone” in the northern part of the country.

After 1991, Turkey gained the opportunity of establishing close and direct links with the Turkmen in Iraq. The Iraqi Turkmen Front which was established in 1995 with the integration of various Turkmen organizations which had been struggling under different umbrellas to solve the problems of the Turkmen people  in Iraq who had been through a turbulent political process were elevated to a different phase. In the 1990’s when the majority of Iraq was surviving under the tyranny of Saddam Huseyin the Turkmen in Iraq had the opportunity to organize in Northern Iraq mainly in Arbil. However, the Turkmen who had organized themselves in order to fight the Saddam Huseyin regime like the other Iraqi opponents were obliged to fight for their very existence in Northern Iraq. That is why most of the Turkmen’s political causes in the 1990’s had be executed on two fronts, against the Kurdish parties in Northern Iraq and Saddam’s regime in Baghdad. In fact the conditions in Iraq made the security dimensions become the center of the stage rather than the civil and political dimensions of the organizing of the Turkmen.  At a later time the gaps in the steps taken and the immaturity of the political structure would later make things problematic for the Turkmen.

After the invasion ofIraq, the Turkmen faced a new situation. They tried to participate in the changing process of the political authority in Baghdad, however, because of their organizational problems in addition to the inability to apply an appropriate policy among the opponent groups caused their exclusion in a major way. During this process the General Headquarters of ITF which had executed its political and organizational duties from Arbil for many years moved to Kirkuk. Efforts to include the Turkmen remaining in the regions under the control of Saddam Huseyin into the organization had just been started. However, if a self criticism needs to be made then truth be told and let us admit that the ITF did not manage this process very well. The reason why the organization and the people were unable to achieve the success expected from them was caused by such issues as difficulties in reaching the Turkmen in Mosul and Diyala, the inability of the organization to overcome the clan and sect related and political problems and the feelings of abandonment felt in Arbil. Still, the Turkish public has been sensitive for a long time since 2003 regarding issues concerning Turkmen people. Turkey reacted strongly when the US started operations at Telafar; during the stressful days in Kirkuk, marches to support Kirkuk were carried out in Turkey. However, the environment in Iraqis such that policies are executed mostly based on identity and in this environment the Turkmen were unable to distance themselves from this implementation. It is natural, in fact compulsory to execute a national cause based on identity. However,  when a completely reactionary stance is directed under every condition at one of the ethnic groups in Iraq, the inability to calculate strategic interests well has been problematic for the Turkmen.

The ITF has experienced numerous problems within its own organization in Iraq and has been unable to obtain the expected political successes and has also unfortunately limited the groups it could have reached in Turkey. In an environment where ITF could have had the full support of Turkey and the political parties it has focused only on the party line of some parties and limited the support of the grassroots in Turkey. This situation has caused the ITF to reduce its relations to some political parties which has caused both the political circles and the Turkish press to lose interest in the Turkmen Cause.

In fact, the developments in Iraq show that the nature of politics devolves through alliances and wide ranged relations. That is why ITF must possess a more efficient political stance which provides initiatives to all segments of Turkmen, keeps a steady balance between the Kurds and Arabs in Iraq, far from any slogans, realistic. The ITF should transform into a security oriented party organization which spreads to the grassroots when civilian politics are not strong enough, which raises its own leaders and has a say in social, political, strategic and economy affairs. The ITF which has held 5 major Assembly meetings since its establishment needs to renovate itself which is the common outlook of all Turkmen who have dealt with politics in Iraq for some time. For this reason it is expected that ITF proceeds into a reform process within a short time. After all, with its faults and successes, the largest, comprehensive and successful Turkmen political organization established and developed by Turkmen is the ITF. With the reforms planned within the ITF it will be considered a major success that the election success maintained with the number of members of parliament elected in the 2010 elections are reflected in the political equation of the country as a whole. In addition, the success of this reform action will be determined by how well the Turkmen can determine their targets and strategies, whether they can maintain a balance between all the groups in Iraq, whether they can be represented in a more equal way in the party in the Turkmeneli geographical area, how successfully it can pull people who have remained outside politics so far for one reason or another and how well they can pull youth and women into active politics. Of course this situation is of interest basically to the Turkmen. However, it is also a fact that the public interest in Turkey for the Turkmen in issues regarding Iraq have decreased lately. Whereas this interest would be a major moral boost for the Turkmen while they are undergoing a restructuring process.

The Iraqi Turkmen Front, remade. By Hasan Kanbolat

May 15, 2011 at 1:11 am | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment
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The Iraqi Turkmen Front, remade
13 May 2011, FridayHASAN KANBOLAT
Ever since the Ottoman state lostIraq, Iraqi Turkmens have been viewed as an extension ofTurkey. For this reason, they have always been subject to great pressure withinIraq.
There have been many attempts to eliminate both their cultural as well as their political identities. Their political leaders and intellectuals have been executed. They have been forced to struggle hard against policies of forced Arabization and Kurdification. These pressures placed on Iraqi Turkmen have paved the way for Turkmens to turn inwards and not be represented adequately in Iraqi politics. In the wake of the 2003USinvasion ofIraq, the exclusion of Turkmens from Iraqi politics has continued. But as democratic initiatives began to take root inIraq, the Turkmens, as one of the three founding groups in the nation, finally began to claim their rightful place in Iraqi politics.Within this framework, Turkmens successfully brought forward 10 MPs in the March 7, 2010 general elections inIraq, and for the first time were represented by three government ministers. Hasan Turan, an Iraqi Turkmen, was elected parliamentary head ofKirkukprovince.

An increased representation by Turkmens in Iraqi politics has also been reflected in the inner politics among the Turkmens themselves. The most influential Turkmen organization from the perspective of electoral representation inIraqis the Iraq Turkmen Front (ITC). And the inner ranks of the ITC have undergone a transformation. Following a decision made in the first week of May in the Iraqi Turkmen Parliament, the ITC will be reorganized. ITC President Saddettin Ergeç has turned over his duties to MP and ITC Kirkuk City President Erşat Salihi, while it has also been announced that Ergeç is now the honorary president of the ITC. When one looks at the new names within the ITC, one sees they fully represent Turkmen-inhabited regions ofIraq. It is significant that names like Ali Mehdi and Hasan Turan, who both help head up influential Turkmen parties such as the Turkmen Party and the Turkmen Justice Party, are part of the ITC.

In addition to a change in ITC heads, there is also a new governing board of the ITC in place, which will oversee operations until the new congress. With the new seven-person government board and the new system, the governing board and the central decision board will have regular monthly meetings as the “Central Decision Governing Board.” All important political decisions are to emerge from these meetings. Another important decision with regards to the ITC’s inner workings was made with regards to the Turkmen parliament. Although this parliament previously worked within the ranks of the ITC, it has now been separated out from the ITC, and has been made into an autonomous institution encompassing all of the various Turkmen political organizations. It could be then said that the full and complete formation of the new ITC will take place only after the law, still in rough form, concerning political parties inIraqhas been completed and passed.

Taking a brief look at the recent history of the ITC, we see it was formed in 1995 in Arbil to prevent chaos and disorganization in the Turkmen political movements in the region; in other words, its aim was to provide a roof for varying Turkmen political movements. In 1995, the first ITC president, Turhan Ketene, was replaced by Sinan Çelebi, the current industry and trade minister for the Kurdistan Regional Authority. In 1997 the First Turkmen General Assembly took place, and Vedat Arslan, who was also previously a minister for the Kurdish Regional Authority, was elected as ITC president. At the Second General Assembly in 2000, Sanan Ahmet Ağa was elected as ITC president. After theUSinvasion ofIraq, the Third General Assembly took place inKirkuk, between Sept. 12-15, and at this Faruk Abdullah Abdurrahman was elected president.

There was also a decision made to transfer the ITC headquarters toKirkukat that point. Influential in this decision was the formation of the Kurdistan Regional Authority, and the acceptance by the ITC of the name “Kurdistan,” as well as the fact thatKirkukwas shown by both the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) and the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) as lying within the borders of their regional leadership. But the movement of the ITC general headquarters from Arbil toKirkukcaused a vacuum within the Turkmen political movement inNorthern Iraq. With support extended from various Kurdish groups there were separations that took place from the ITC.

At the fourth and fifth General Assemblies of the ITC, which took place in 2005 and 2008, Ergeç was once again elected as president of the organization. After the 2008 ITC General Assembly a regional election law forIraqwas passed. With the aim of participating in approaching elections, the ITC declared itself a proper political party, and thus stopped being a “roof-providing organization” for other political parties. And so, political parties that were still in the ranks of the ITC were suddenly excluded. This decision can be seen as the real start of a period of transformation for the ITC, which picked up a government ministry position for the first time ever in the wake of the 2010 elections.

Iraqi Turkmen tell U.S. ambassador to stop meddling in domestic affairs

January 20, 2011 at 10:34 am | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment
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Iraqi Turkmen tell U.S. ambassador to stop meddling in domestic affairs

 A statement by the Iraqi Turkmen Front, a political umbrella for ethnic Turks in Iraq, accused U.S. ambassador to Iraq, James F. Jeffrey, of heightening ethnic and sectarian tensions in the disputed oil-rich province of Kirkuk.

By Marwan al-Aani

Azzaman, January 19, 2011

Iraqi ethnic Turks, known locally as Turkmen, have asked U.S. ambassador to Iraq, James F. Jeffrey, to stop meddling in Iraqi internal affairs.

A statement by the Turkmen Front, a political umbrella for ethnic Turks in Iraq, accused Jeffrey of heightening ethnic and sectarian tensions in the disputed oil-rich province of Kirkuk.

Kirkuk is a mixed province where Kurds, Arabs and Turkmen all claim it to themselves. But the Kurds have deployed their militias in the city and currently hold joint patrols with U.S. invasion troops there.

“We call on the U.S. ambassador to put an end to his meddling in internal issues. We do not want him to become a factor deepening Kirkuk’s problems,” the statement,  a copy of which was faxed to the newspaper, said.

The statement was particularly critical of Jeffrey’s call for the implementation of a paragraph in the constitution which if translated into action may lead to full Kurdish control of the province with its massive oil riches.

Both Turkmen and Arabs, who together form the majority in both the provincial capital and the province at large, dispute the paragraph and call for its amendment, describing it as part of ‘an agenda’ to help Kurds wrest control of Kirkuk.

“The continuation of meddling by certain parties in (the country’s) internal affairs is a continuation of instability,” the statement said.

ORSAM held an interview with ITF Turkey Representative Dr. Hicran Kazancı

January 4, 2011 at 6:52 pm | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment
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04 January 2011, Tuesday





ORSAM: First of all Hicran Bey would you kindly introduce yourself?

Hicran Kazancı: I was born in Kirkuk. After completing my primary and secondary education in Kirkuk I finalized my education with a university degree from Mosul University. In 1995 a received the benefit of a scholarship provided for Iraqi Turks and came to Turkey. Before 1995, no scholarships were sent to Turkey for many years. After completing a doctor’s thesis in  Ankara University Faculty of Science I received various trainings in political science. I started dealing with politics in the Iraqi Turkmen Front in 2004. I have been deputized to very different places and after working in Iraqi Turkmen Front as Foreign Relations Responsible Person I went to the U.S.A for a six month training and returned to the region. I was appointed to my present position as Iraqi Turkmen Front Turkey Representative in June 2010.

Can you give us some information about the Iraqi Turkmen Front Turkey Representation?

The Iraqi Turkmen Front was established in 1995 in Arbil. After that various representations were established abroad. Starting with Turkey, representations were established in London, Damascus and Egypt. There have been efforts to open a representation in Iran, however, no results have been achieved. The function of the Iraqi Turkmen Front in Turkey is to forward political activities carried out by the Turkmen in the region to relevant political persons abroad and ensure a communication between them. The representation in Turkey is the most active one and the underlying reason for this is the importance of Turkey to the Iraqi Turkmen. The Turkey representation includes information, public relations and representation units. At the moment we continue our works with a seven person team.

As the Turkey Representation, do you publish any publications or do you have a web site?

Previously we published a magazine type publication, the Iraq Bulletin, which published daily news items from Iraq but now we continue this publication on our web site in Turkish, Arabic and English languages.

Can you tell us when was the Turkey Representation established?

The Turkey Representation has existed since the establishment of the Iraqi Turkmen Front in 1995.

Can you tell us something about your plans, your targets?

Our aim is to talk to particularly countries which are neighbors with Iraq and countries which are permanent members of the UN as well as countries which have impact in Iraq and share our views regarding the developing situation in order to inform them. It is slightly difficult to talk to the foreign missions in Iraq about the incidents because of the turmoil in the region which is why we endeavor to do so from the outside, from Turkey. In addition, we endeavor to inform the press in Turkey and media corporations about the situations developing in Iraq and the Turkmen. We meet with the ruling party and other parties to maintain relations on an objective level; we also have periodical meetings with the Turkmen living in Turkey to get an insight of their views and contributions and forward these to the central office.  

As Turkey Representative, how do you assess the situation of the Turkmen today and in general. Can you comment particularly on how this contributes to the process in Iraq?

The Iraqi Turkmen are a community which has settled in Turkey before the Turks. They have held important duties and maintained significant positions. However, it is unfortunate that so far a member of parliament has not been appointed to the Grand Assembly in Turkey; neither has a non-governmental organization with an impact on the decision making and steering mechanism in Turkey been established. Today’s situation makes this clear. They only exist on an association level. Iraqi Turkmen associations continued their activities into the middle of 1980’s. During the mid 1980’s the first political party which was the Iraq National Turkmen Party was established. In 1991 when the liberated zone (36th parallel) was realized, the Iraq National Turkmen Party was declared the first political organization. Instead of establishing relations with the State and government in Turkey, they contacted some extremist parties and became a part of them which had a negative impact on us.

If we take a look at Iraqi politics, what is your opinion on what the Turkmen did correctly or incorrectly regarding Iraqi politics?

In order to determine this it is necessary to look at the foundation the Iraqi Turkmen are standing on in Iraq’s political equation today. If the foundation it faultless then there is nothing to criticize, but if not, then we are obliged to face the mistakes we made in the recent past. The foundation and place where the Turkmen stand today is not correct. The place of the Turkmen today is not the place they deserve. There are two reasons for this; the political developments in Iraq are an important dimension because the Turkmen are a significant part of Iraq and separating the Turkmen from Iraq and making an analysis would be very wrong. When conditions in Iraq normalize and when democracy is fully established, the Turkmen will be in the mainframe. When examining the conditions in Iraq it is evident that each political party also has a militia organization. This means that instead of one national army there are four armies which is an abnormal situation not to be found anywhere in the world.

The central government and northern administration have armies also; in addition there are two militia forces which have been legalized. Under such conditions among politicized armed groups it is difficult to achieve normal conditions in Iraq. That is why it is important that international organizations lead by the UN, neighboring countries of Iraq and the U.S.A must endeavor to normalize the process to result in a single armed forces system. In federal countries none of the federal structures have a military force independent from the others. We want this situation in Iraq to be rectified.

If these conditions normalize, the Iraqi Turkmen will be in the forefront. When looking from this point there are some strategic errors which incurred during the 1991-2003 process and the processes before that. The reality is that we have not been realistic in the application of our policies in the region. The situation of  the Turkmen today can perhaps be explained by the fact that in the past a realistic policy compatible with the cultural, political social structure of the region corresponding to the values of Iraq was not applied. After today the situation may be remedied, however, it is necessary to follow the developments in Iraq very well and refrain from acting based on ideologies. All communities have nationalist or leftist ideologies but when we apply these we must analyze whether or not the applications are in parallel with Iraq centered international developments. It is clear that if we follow a policy which is not in parallel then we shall not reach any results.

As you know, a government could not be established in Iraq for the past seven months, the census planned for 24 October has also been postponed and Iraq is going through a politically rough patch. Can we have your views on these issues?

As you know, after the US intervention on Iraq and the overthrow of Saddam a new period started. We had hopeful expectations about the replacement of the old pre- 2003 regime with democracy which unfortunately did not realize. Us Iraqis lived under the dictatorship of daddy Saddam for 40 years and if the US had not intervened, we would have lived another 50 years under the dictatorship of Saddam’s son. The US intervention overthrew a dictatorship, but the erroneous strategies which were applied led to erroneous developments. Before 2003, the Minister of Foreign Affairs at the time, Abdullah Gül offered to organize meetings with the neighboring countries of Iraq. Abdullah Gül stated that stability in Iraq could be achieved with the contribution of its neighbors. As a matter of fact some meetings did take place. However, the US administration at the time, took part in some activities to prevent these meetings from taking place and the meetings were interrupted and then the war started. However, today the US also believes that stability in Iraq can be possible with the contribution of its neighbors. Importing democracy from another country will bring no benefits because democracy is a movement that must start from the basic level, from the grass roots; the best example of this is given by the most recent referendum results in Turkey. In other words, democracy happens when the people are willing.

 Iraq was under US occupation for 7.5 years in total and the ex US Iraq commander claims to know where Iraq is going in the 3 to 4.5 years time. This is the result of applications which did not take the community structure of Iraq, its cultural values nor political system into consideration. The culprit is not the U.S., it is the Iraqi politicians. When the Iraqi government was being established, everyone was out for the vested interests of his own party or even personal gains which we see as a lack of goodwill.

Everybody talks about establishing a national government but this talk is not turned into action. I believe that Iraqi politicians should be well intentioned and take a step backwards regarding some issues, otherwise this situation will continue. When we observe the situation today, it is evident that basic services which should have been provided to the people have not realized although 7.5 years have gone by. 

The electricity and water problems continue. Although the annual income of state officials is above 150 thousand dollars the income of the average citizen is around 2000 thousand dollars. It is futile to speak of democracy in a community where there are such wide gaps between the annual incomes of the population. The solution to this is that Iraq’s neighboring countries work towards peace in Iraq and Iraqi politicians put aside their personal gains, the interest of their party and start thinking about the people and start acting in good faith.

What are your thoughts regarding Kirkuk. Where is the process heading?

Kirkuk is the key point in the region and the future of Kirkuk will not only change the balances in Iraq but also have an impact on international equilibrium. The petroleum economy and petroleum reserves are sufficient to pinpoint the importance of Kirkuk. However, it would be a mistake for the Turkmen to put Iraq aside and focus only on the Kirkuk issue. It is important to analyze the situations and developments in Iraq and act accordingly rather than look at Iraq through the Kirkuk window. The problem in Kirkuk is not on the ethnic for sectarian platform. This is just a ruse. The real problem of Kirkuk is a conflict of international interests. For this reason we are obliged to determine our disposition in this matter posthaste.

What are your expectations from Turkey as both Iraqi Turkmen Front Turkey Representative and as a Turkmen?

This question has become quite the cliché, but rather than ask “What are your expectations from Turkey” the question to ask is “what does Turkey expect from you”. Turkey is an independent country which has attained a rising image due to the foreign policy applied in the region in the recent past and gained growing respect. In 2002 American administrative officials had meetings with Turkish officials about the war in Iraq and the intervention plans and their expectation of support from Turkey. They requested for airbases in the Southeast and the Black Sea regions. The reason given was combating global terrorism. At the time these requests were turned down by Turkey and with each passing day we see how right this decision was. Turkey said that the situation would become even more complicated if the US intervened in Iraq. If one of the 2700 clans living in the Middle East are touched, they all affect each other and the situation spreads all the way to Yemen where we witness the situation today. Turkey also prevented the US intervention in Syria after the assassination of Refik Hariri on 14 February 2005. For this reason Turkey is a leader among the Middle Eastern countries, follows a foreign policy with a view to protect national interests in all areas which is a rather natural action from the viewpoint as the basis of international relations. When this protective action is applied our area can be entered and the situation should be received quite normally. The important issue here is what we must do. We must act on a policy that is removed from hostilities and submission. When we succeed in the application of this policy 70 % of the problems in Turkmeneli region will be resolved at their starting points.

In conclusion, as Iraqi Turkmen Front Turkey Representative do you have a message for the Turkmen?

We are facing a sensitive period. The census is approaching and although in principle we see the census as a positive element we are opposed to its execution under the present circumstances. In the end the census shall be carried out but us Turkmen are against being swept into pessimism. The forthcoming process is of utmost importance. I recommend that rather than in give in to pessimism, they look to the future with hope because the forthcoming process is the beginning of the struggle of the Turkmen to take their rightful place.


Human Rights Situation of Iraqi Turkmen

December 3, 2010 at 12:49 am | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment
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To everyone in the UK who is concerned with the Human Rights situation in Iraq:

Please contact your MP and ask him/her to sign the Early Day Motion EDM968 – Human Rights Situation of Iraqi Turkmen


80 signatures are needed.

Below are the names of the 20 MPs who have already signed : 

EDM 968  
Hancock, Mike   20 signatures
  Blenkinsop, Tom   Bottomley, Peter   Clarke, Tom
  Connarty, Michael   Durkan, Mark   Hemming, John
  Hopkins, Kelvin   Leech, John   McDonnell, John
  Munt, Tessa   Ritchie, Margaret   Rogerson, Dan
  Russell, Bob   Shannon, Jim   Sharma, Virendra
  Singh, Marsha   Williams, Mark   Williams, Roger
  Williams, Stephen        


That this House is concerned about the human rights situation of the Iraqi Turkmen, the third largest ethnic group in Iraq, who mainly live in the northern provinces, such as Kirkuk; condemns the ethnic cleansing and assimilation policy of Iraqi Turkmen by both Saddam Hussein’s government until 2003 andthe Kurds since 2003, who claim the Iraqi Turkmen lands which are rich with oil, gas sulphur, uranium and phosphorus; notes that the census in Iraq delayed for the third time since 2007 is now due to be held on 5 December 2010; worries that the inclusion of the questions on ethnicity and mother tongue in the census will divide Iraqi people instead of uniting them and might create new outbreaks of violence in this country; further condemns the treatment of the Iraqi Turkmen as the lower class in Iraq in comparison with the Arabs and Kurds; believes all ethnicities in Iraq should possess equal rights; welcomes the work of the Iraqi Turkmen Front to promote the human rights of Iraqi Turkmen such as the right to participate in the forming of the new government and the right to have justice, equality, fairness and an end to the discrimination and violence; and calls on the Prime Minister and the Government to raise the issue of Iraqi Turkmens’ human rights with the government of Iraq.


Dr. Hassan AYDINLI, ITF E.U. Representative attended the Exchange of views with Mr. Ad MELKERT, Special Representative of the Secretary General of the United Nations for Iraq, at the E.U. Parliament in Brussels.

December 2, 2010 at 7:53 pm | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment
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Dr. Hassan AYDINLI, ITF E.U. Representative attended the Exchange of views with Mr. Ad MELKERT, Special Representative of the Secretary General of the United Nations for Iraq, at the E.U. Parliament in Brussels.

Mr. Gabriele Albertini MEP,  Mr. Ad Melkert, a  Representative of the U.N., Mr Struan Stevenson, MEP.

ITF E.U. Representative, Dr. Hassan Aydinli and Mr. Ad Melkert, Special Representative of the Secretary General of the United Nations for Iraq

Brussels – On 1st December 2010, Dr. Hassan AYDINLI, Iraqi Turkmen Front  E.U. Representative, attended the Exchange of views with Mr. Ad MELKERT at the European Parliament.

During his speech to members of the Foreign Affairs Committee  (AFET) of the European Parliament Ad MELKERT Special Representative of the Secretary General of the United Nations for Iraq, gave his assessment of the situation in Iraq, he said that the long process of government formation seems close to be finalized and that there seems to be a continuity in the government but that the balance of power is different now that Sunnis and Sadrists will play a stronger role. He said there are reasons to be reasonably optimistic. He said that some parts of the country are now more secure, but not Mosul, Baquba and Baghdad.

Mr. MELKERT spoke about the U.N.’s role in Iraq which is mainly to promote the protection of Human Rights, to support the political process regarding the ‘disputed areas’, to help improving relations between Iraq and Kuwait.  He also spoke about the U.N ’s role in monitoring the situation of Camp Ashraf.

Mr. MELKERT expressed particular concern regarding the security of Iraq’s minorities, especially regarding the Christian minority in Nineveh and Baghdad, he said the U.N. was trying to find ways to protect them. He said that before there was no distinction between religious sects in Iraq. 

He declared that the U.N. “will focus on the political process in and around the disputed areas that are for the time being depending outcome between Arabs and Kurds”.

 When MEP Struan STEVENSON, Chairman of the Iraq Delegation, was given the floor he congratulated Mr. MELKERT for the terrific job that he was doing in Iraq. He said that the Iraq Delegation which was set up in February 2008 as an ‘ad hoc’ delegation was now a fully fledged delegation for Iraq.

 Mr. STEVENSON said he was alarmed at the interference of Iran in Iraq.  He also mentioned last week’s resolution of the EU Parliament condemning the death penalty in Iraq. He spoke about the necessity to protect Iraq’s minorities as well as the refugees in Camp Ashraf. He said that there were unconfirmed rumours that the Iraqi army would attack Camp Ashraf .

Several MPs put questions to the United Nations’ envoy to Iraq. Namely:

Mr. Mario Mauro, Iraq Rapporteur (Italy)

Ms. Ana Gomes (Portugal)

Mr. Vyautos Landsbergis (Lithuania)

Ms. Emine Bozkurt (Netherlands)

Mr. Alejo Vidal- Quadras (Spain)

Mr. Willy Meyer (Spain)

At the end of the meeting Dr. Hasan Aydinli took the opportunity to speak with Mr. Ad Melkert. After having introduced himself as the Iraqi Turkmen Front Representative in the E.U. he congratulated Mr. Melkert for his speech, however, he expressed his deception that when he, the U.N. Representative for Iraq, spoke about the Iraqi people and the so-called ‘disputed territories’ he had mentioned only the Arabs and Kurds, without even mentioning the Turkmens, despite the fact that these so-called ‘disputed territories’ are mainly Turkmen territories.

 Dr. Hassan Aydinli said that Turkmens’ rights should not be overlooked by the U.N.

 Mr. Melkert acknowledged that the Turkmens are the third main component of the Iraqi people and said that he is also working with the Turkmen representatives in Iraq.

Head of ITF Sadettin Ergeç in Çankaya Palace

December 2, 2010 at 5:25 pm | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment
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02 December 2010, Thursday.

The President of the Republic of Turkey Abdullah Gül received Head of Iraqi Turkmen Front Sadettin Ergeç and Iraqi Turkmen Front Turkey Representative Hicran Kazancı in Çankaya Palace.

At the reception, President Gül gave his views on the Iraqi process and the representation of the Turkmen and all other ethnic groups within the national government.

President Gül informed that Iraq and Turkmeneli regions were closely followed and that support to the Turkmen and the Iraqi nation would continue.

At the reception, Head of Iraqi Turkmen Front Sadettin Ergeç expressed his thanks for all the support and interest provided to the Turkmen and all Iraqis.
The meeting was attended by Iraqi Turkmen Front Turkey Representative Hicran Kazancı, Presidential Chief Advisor Erşat Hürmüzlü, Presidential Advisor Özcan Şahin and Ministry of Foreign Affairs Chief Advisor Serdan Çarık.

 Kerkuk net

Iraqi Turkmen Front demands the right to participate in Summit Meetings

November 6, 2010 at 12:45 pm | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment

Iraq Turkmen Front demands the right to participate in Summit Meetings




05 November 2010, Friday.
 Iraq Turkmen Front has always defended the rights of the Turkmen nation as well as the sovereignty of the Iraqi people and territorial integrity; the ITF demands that a new government is established in Iraq without delay pledges its support to all efforts, works and projects dealing with this issue.

Iraq Turkmen Front represents the majority of the Turkmen people; the best attestation to this is the success achieved by Iraq Turkmen Front in the most recent parliamentary elections and last years province assembly elections. Based on these facts, as the representative of the Turkmen people and officially registered in Iraq, the Iraq Turkmen Front demands its right to attend the leaders summit to be held in Arbil and in Riyadh, if the proposal of the King of Saudi Arabia is accepted.

Iraq Turkmen Front
Information Department

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