Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Iraqi Women Before And After The 2003 Invasion, Interview With Prof Nadje Al-Ali Univ of London

For photos please see:

Professor Nadje Al-Ali is a professor of gender studies at SOAS, University of London. She has authored several books and articles on the history and present state of Iraqi women including Iraqi Women: Untold Stories From 1948 to the Present and What Kind of Liberation?: Women and the Occupation of Iraq, and was one of the editors of We Are Iraqis: Aesthetics and Politics in a Time of War. The Iraq War has given rise to a number of contradictory stories about women in Iraq. One is that Iraqi women were liberated and on the rise under Saddam, and then all that was reversed after the 2003 invasion as religious parties gained control and attempted to impose their views upon society. An opposing view was that Iraq was a typical Arab Muslim country where women had a secondary role, but then the Americans freed them from these restrictions. To try to provide a clearer picture of what women have gone through both before and after the fall of Saddam Hussein is an interview with Prof. Al-Ali.

1. The Baath took power in Iraq in the 1968 coup. It had a modernizing vision for Iraq, which Saddam Hussein partially implemented when he assumed control of the country. Part of that was opening up opportunities for women. That accelerated during the 1980s when many men were drawn into the military for the Iran-Iraq War. What exactly was the Baathist vision for women and what kind of policies did Saddam carry out during the 1970s and 1980s?

Iraqi women at university in Iraq in the 1970s

The Baath regime came to power in 1968, and Saddam Hussein actually became president in 1979, so there was a decade when he was vice president. The Baath Party’s ideology initially was very secular, Arab socialist, and nationalist, and I think very similar to other post-colonial secular leaders in the region like Ataturk and also the Shah of Iran. In the 1950s and 60s and 70s in many countries in the region there was a push to modernize and an understanding that this process meant pushing women into education and the labor force. This process was sped up in the Iraqi context because of the economic conditions. In the early 70s there was an oil crisis, and then afterward oil prices shot up and so all the oil producing countries had their economies boom. While some of the other countries like Saudi Arabia and Kuwait dealt with this boom and expanding economy by trying to bring in foreign laborers the Iraqi government tried to mobilize its own human resources, 50% of which was women. In the 70s there was a very strong push for women’s education. Lots of schools were built, lots of universities were built, lots of scholarships were made available to women, also to study abroad to get M.A.’s and PhD’s. There were systems in place that allowed women to have families and children and work. For example childcare was free, and transportation to work and school was free. Those were the kinds of systems put in place that allowed women to have active working lives. And when I say women I mean mainly the urban women, although in the countryside there were also literacy campaigns. There was also something called the General Federation of Iraqi Women that was like the female branch of the Baath Party, and it was responsible for implementing some of the state’s modernizing policies. For instance, it had a big campaign to raise awareness about health and hygiene, how to feed children, and it also had a very successful literacy campaign. At the end of the 70s Iraq actually received a prize from UNESCO for being the country that managed to raise its female literacy the quickest.

Saddam posing with Iraqi school girls in the 1970s

You can speak about the ideology of the Baath, which was secular and socialist in outlook with a centralized state and wanting to modernize. In other ways it was just being pragmatic. It was responding to the situation on the ground and decided that it had human resources and it should take advantage of them. Lots of Iraqi women, even those who were in opposition to the regime and who might have suffered under the regime, who I have talked to think with nostalgia about the 70s when there was an expanding economy, social-economic rights, and the state was quite generous. In my mind, it is not true that Saddam Hussein and the Baath Party lasted so long just because they brutally repressed the population. I think they also bought off the expanding middle class. In terms of social-economic rights, in terms of access to education, health care, having a house, a freezer, a car, people could do quite well if they didn’t open up their mouths. This was all in the 1970s

Than in the 1980s there was the Iran-Iraq War. During that period things changed drastically. Lots of the state funding, instead of channeling it into education, health care, and child care, it got channeled into the military, and that’s when things started to shift. But because it was such a long war where thousands and thousands of men fought and died that also meant that over a long period of time women started taking over many of the roles that men initially played not only in terms of different jobs in the labor force, but also in the state bureaucracy and administration. So women became very visible in the 80s.

There was also a shift in state ideology. It wasn’t about the good Iraqi woman being the educated, working woman like in the 70s, but in the 80s the good Iraqi woman became the mother of future soldiers. At some point, Saddam Hussein said that every good Iraqi woman should have five children. The government made abortion illegal, contraception illegal, and it gave very generous subsidies to baby foods, and things like that.

2. In 1989 the Iran-Iraq War ended and there was a demobilization of the military, and then shortly afterwards Iraq invaded Kuwait and faced international sanctions. How did those changes affect the status of women?

What really had a devastating affect upon Iraqi women was not the Gulf War in 1991, but the 13 years of economic sanctions. To my mind I feel that part of history should not be forgotten. You can’t actually understand contemporary Iraq without understanding the impact that the sanctions had on society. Lots has been written and talked about the humanitarian crisis that occurred during that period in terms of health care and education. When it came to women it really triggered a shift to greater social conservatism. That had different causes. One was that when people are fighting and struggling over resources and over jobs there is often a call for women to go back home and look after the children. That happened in Iraq where in some parts you had up to 70% unemployment. The state couldn’t afford all these generous welfare policies anymore or pay salaries. A large percentage of Iraqi women who had been in the public sector were suddenly told the state couldn’t afford them to work anymore, because they couldn’t pay for child care, transportation, and salaries. The other thing was that by the 1990s there was a huge demographic imbalance between men and women because more men had been killed in the Iran-Iraq War and Saddam’s political persecution had driven more men to flee the country. By the 90s there was 55-60% women, with many female-headed households and many widows. Before there was an extended family network that would support people, but by the 90s each nuclear family was just busy surviving.

One of the things that happened was that there was an increase in prostitution. That was also partly pushed by the regime and a class of nouveau rich and war profiteers who made lots of money from smuggling. The big impact wasn’t that suddenly there was so much more prostitution, but that there was an awareness that there was more prostitution. Eventually the regime crackdown on prostitution, because although it was initially behind creating the market for it the regime got very embarrassed when the Jordanian government complained about the number of Iraqi women who came to Jordan to work as prostitutes. Afterwards it was a matter of protecting the honor of the nation, so Saddam’s son Uday brutally cracked down on a number of prostitutes and pimps and publicly beheaded them. In the aftermath there was a panic and lots of families became very protective of their daughters, sisters, and wives. Lots of Iraqi women told me that in previous decades, female students had been able to go after school or university for coffee or ice cream with their friends, but during the 90s, they weren’t able to do that anymore. They had to dress much more conservatively. Mobility became more difficult. The dress code became much more constrained. Even more seriously polygamy increased during the sanctions period. As families were struggling to survive some families agreed to have their daughters get married to older men who had more money as a kind of survival strategy.

This shift towards greater social conservatism in the 90s is an important background in order to understand what happened after 2003. Also, lots of people had left by 2003 including many secular, educated, and middle class people, and this has had an impact on what’s going on today.

3. After the 2003 invasion the Coalition Provisional Authority said that it attempted to make some changes to the country that would empower women as part of transforming the society. They set up a quota system for example that reserved 25% of the seats in parliament for women. Do you think the Americans were able to make any progress for women?

First we need to challenge the idea that the United States installed the quota system. The quota system was enshrined in the constitution and previously in the Transitional Administrative Law despite objections from the CPA, particularly Paul Bremer. In the spring of 2004 a delegation of Iraqi women’s rights activists went to see Paul Bremer, and asked for 40% representation in the parliament saying that women actually make up the majority of the Iraqi population. They told him that Iraqi women had played an important role in keeping the country together during the dictatorship and the Iran-Iraq War, and now women wanted a piece of the new Iraq. Bremer looked at them and said “We don’t do quotas.” It was only due to intense lobbying on behalf of Iraqi women’s rights activists and transnational women’s solidarity by international organizations and media coverage of this lobbying that the Transitional Administrative Law and later the constitution included a compromise 25% of seats quota for women in parliament. This was due to pressure from Iraqis and international groups, not because the Americans put it together.

Secondly, I personally think that a quota can be a positive thing, but not in and of itself. If a quota is the only thing there is then it is not doing that much to represent women. What has happened in Iraq is that the 25% of parliament who are women are to a large extent the wives, sisters, and daughters of male politicians. They are also often very conservative male politicians. One should say that it has allowed some outspoken women into the parliament, but that is just a small number. It’s also complicated because over a period of time women who initially looked towards how the men were voting before they put up their own hand started to develop their own views and voices and sometimes work across religious and ethnic lines with other women on some issues that are less controversial like access to health care for example or education.

On the other hand without the quota there probably would be hardly any women in the parliament. If you have conservative Islamist members of parliament you might as well have some of them be women. But that doesn’t mean they protect women’s rights, and we need to be clear about that.

Another thing to be said about the quota is that it is not applied consistently. It is applied in parliament, but not in the ministries or within any of the important committees that decide things, so it is quite inconsistently applied. A quota only really works if it is linked to other measures and policies, so if it is just a quota and everything else is gender blind then it is really only cosmetic.

4. There are many religious parties that run the country such as the Dawa, the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq, the Sadrists, the Iraqi Islamic Party, etc. What kind of impact have those parties had?

I think we need to distinguish between an Islamic view, which many Iraqis were ready for because after all they had experienced a brutal dictatorship for several decades, which was secular. So as a reaction to that many people thought that a more Islamic government would be the solution. I think that the Islamist parties that have come to power post-2003 are not just Islamists but sectarian. I hold the politicians who lived outside of Iraq for a long time and were in the opposition partly responsible for the increase in sectarianism. I don’t think it’s right to say that sectarianism didn’t exist before 2003, and certainly Saddam Hussein played on sectarianism and he did stir up sectarian sentiments, but these new political parties helped by the CPA, which based the Iraqi Governing Council on ethnic and sectarian divisions, and then the first elections institutionalized sectarian politics. So it’s not only Islamism, which is already problematic, but its Islamist-sectarianism imposed from above. I think right now on one hand many people are really fed up with the Islamist-sectarian politicians, and on the other hand I think sectarianism is really deep and engrained, much more so than it was during the height of sectarian tensions in 2007.

Speaking more specifically about women clearly they are getting it from both sides. On the one hand they have now been exposed to a government that’s largely been based upon Islamist politics, which is either ignoring issues related to women or the laws around like the Personal Status Code, which is a set of laws that governs divorce, marriage, and inheritance. There is a strong push to create one that is a more conservative interpretation of Sharia law as opposed to the one before that has been in place since 1959. That one was also based upon Sharia law, but it was a progressive reading. I think women are now being used by the Islamist government to show that they are different from the previous regime, which was secular. At the same time, women are being used by insurgents and various militia groups to show resistance to western imperialism. So women are being crushed by both sides by these conservative Islamist forces.

Children heading to school in Baghdad (NY Times)

5. You talked about how woman had a lot more opportunities in the 1970s and 80s, and how that changed during the sanctions period. How about today because most U.N. reports that talk about women in terms of schooling and work force participation show very low numbers?

One big issue is security. Sending your children to school in general is scary for many parents. For girls, parents worry even more, especially in neighborhoods that are not safe. There are threats in terms of kidnapping, forced prostitution, and trafficking. Lots of young women are being trafficked out of Iraq. Those kinds of risks and threats and lack of security negatively impact young women’s education as well as labor force participation, because parents worry about sending their daughters out. Women do work, but there is a lot of unemployment in Iraq generally so there is competition for jobs. I have a lot of contacts in universities, and women work there, but their opportunities are very limited.

6. Looking into the future Iraq is a country that has a lot of potential. Do you see opportunities for women opening up for them in the coming years?

Defintely. Iraqi women have been extremely resourceful, creative and courageous over these past decades, and they will continue to be so in the future. There is a very active women’s movement across central and southern Iraq as well as in Iraqi Kurdistan. Women are not only lobbing for more equality and women’s rights, but they are also at the forefront of the opposition against authoritarianism, sectarianism, and corruption. I have been very impressed by some young women who are determined to educate themselves and make a difference in Iraq. However, I think that short-term, or even the next decade, will be extremely tough for women as they are squeezed between Islamists, corrupt politicians, a police and judiciary that is not very sympathetic to women’s plights, such as various forms of gender-based violence, mafia-type gangs and militia, as well as a revival of conservative tribal leaders and practices.

Monday, 16 December 2013

Rise of PYD in northern Syria jeopardizes Turkmen presence in region

Rise of PYD in northern Syria jeopardizes Turkmen presence in region

15 December 2013 /İREM KARAKAYA, ANKARA
The Democratic Union Party (PYD), an offshoot of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and a group that has been expanding its influence in northern Syria, approaching its target of establishing an autonomous Kurdish region along the Turkish border, is endangering the region's Turkmen population, a minority that does not wish to live under PYD rule.

“It is highly likely that the PYD will pose a threat to Turkmens [living in the north of Syria]. It may expel or target ethnic minorities in the region to establish its own authority there in the near future. We believe that, as an organization with a racist mindset, the PYD will never tolerate any other race, especially the Turkmens. The PYD is not in conflict with Arabs in the region. However, it is obvious that they won't refrain from conflict with the Turkmens, who have Turkey's support,” Tarık Sulo Cevizci, chairman of the Syria Democratic Turkmen Movement (SDTH), told Sunday's Zaman.

Although there is not a significant Turkmen population in the areas where the PYD has already declared autonomy -- Afrin, Kobani and Jazirah -- its armed militia's advance into the northern area that connects the three Kurdish regions may spread the conflict into areas populated by Arabs and Turkmens.

Turkmen communities coexist with the Kurdish majority in a region near the Syrian-Turkish border that runs from the northwestern governorates of Idlib and Aleppo to the northeastern governorate of Raqqa. Syrian Turkmens fear the displacement of 290 Turkmen villages in this area if an autonomous Syrian Kurdish region is declared.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu expressed concerns about the PYD's advance in the region at a press conference in Ankara on Nov. 13, saying, “In the areas controlled by the PYD, with the help of the [Syrian] regime, there is brutal treatment [of minorities], especially of our Turkish brothers.”

Cevizci explained that Turkmen and Kurdish forces have encountered each other before and are likely to clash again, as the PYD does not see Turkmens as an obstacle to their plans to establish a Kurdish state in the region. However, Turkmens already have settlements in the area standing between the PYD's autonomous regions.

Although it is hard to tell the exact number of Turkmens living in Syria, Cevizci said they number 3.5 million and that nearly 1.5 million of these live in northern Syria, particularly in the regions of Raqqa, Aleppo and the port of Latakia.

Cevizci also drew attention to the small number of Turkmens who have taken refuge in neighboring countries. He said most Turkmens have not left their hometowns since the beginning of the civil war -- in March 2011 -- and continue to resist instead of allowing Turkmen areas to be occupied by extremist and racist forces.

Oytun Orhan, a prominent expert on Syria, told Sunday's Zaman that the PYD's militia force, the People's Protection Units (YPG), is showing a pattern of movement towards Turkmen settlements and stated that Turkmen groups are not strong enough to resist the YPG if it targets their settlements. He said that before the goal announced by the PYD leader -- namely, to establish a connection between the three autonomous regions, can be achieved, Turkmen militias and the YPG will face each other in combat.

“The Turkmens don't want to live under the PYD, jihadist groups or the Syrian regime. If the PYD takes the upper hand against the al-Qaeda-affiliated Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant [ISIS], it will face Turkmen troops, which do not have the power to resist. There has been a significant decrease in the number of Turkmen troops,” he said.

The Syrian Turkmen took the side of the opposition, including the Free Syrian Army (FSA), from the start of the uprising. However, the FSA is in an extremely weak position in terms of the current multilateral conflicts, and the number of Turkmen fighters is decreasing day by day. Orhan said that while the number of Turkmen fighters was around 3,500-4,000 last year, it has now decreased to 2,000-2,500. He underlined that aid coming from the FSA has also been decreasing, with a serious effect on Turkmen military groups.

Serhat Erkmen, a consultant with the Ankara-based Center for Middle Eastern Strategic Studies (ORSAM), told Sunday's Zaman that the region in which the Kurds want to establish a federal government includes many ethnic minorities, and claimed that the Kurds will clash with every minority that does not want to live under Kurdish rule.

“People living in that area [northern Syria] will probably have two options in the future: to take the side of the PYD or of al-Qaeda-affiliated groups. This is a really hard choice for those people. Would Turkmens choose the PYD or al-Qaeda? I don't think they will choose al-Qaeda, although they don't want to live under PYD rule either,” Erkmen said, explaining that choosing the PYD is a difficult move for Turkmens, but if al-Qaeda-affiliated groups take the upper hand, the Turkmens will stand by the PYD.

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Iraq Slips One Place On International Corruption Index

Monday, December 9, 2013

Iraq Slips One Place On International Corruption Index

Germany’s Transparency International (TI) released its annual Corruption Perceptions Index 2013 in December. The Index is based upon various reports on graft in countries around the world. Iraq has done very badly on the survey since 2003 being ranked one of the ten most corrupt nations globally for the last eight years. In 2013 it fell one spot from the previous year.

Transparency International uses a ranking system to determine a countries place on its Index. Each is given a score of 0 meaning highly corrupt to 100 that is very clean based upon various reports on corruption. In 2013 69% of the 177 nations included had a score below 50 showing a serious problem with fraud and theft globally. The most problematic states this year were Somalia, North Korea, Afghanistan all three of which received an 8, Sudan with an 11, and South Sudan with a 14. Those have all continuously been towards the bottom of the Index for several years now showing little inclination to tackle their problems.

Sunday, 8 December 2013

UK Prime Minister Covers Up Crimes Against Humanity – Lectures Sri Lanka on Crimes Against Humanity

UK Prime Minister Covers Up Crimes Against Humanity – Lectures Sri Lanka on Crimes Against Humanity
By Felicity Arbuthnot
Global Research, November 19, 2013

“Hypocrisy, the most protected of vices.” Moliere (Jean-Baptiste Poquelin, 1622-1673.)

Last week a little more was learned as to the circumventions in Whitehall and Washington delaying the publication of the findings of Sir John Chilcot’s marathon Inquiry in to the background of the Iraq invasion.

The UK’s Chilcot Inquiry, was convened under then Prime Minister Gordon Brown, to establish the decisions taken by the UK government and military, pre and post invasion. It ran from 24th November 2009 until 2nd February 2011 and cost an estimated £7.5 million. The as yet unpublished Report is believed to run to 1000,000 words.

The stumbling block – more of an Israeli-style “separation barrier” in reality – has been the correspondence between Tony Blair and George W. Bush, prior to an invasion and occupation, which former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan finally told the BBC was: “illegal” and that: “painful lessons” had been learned. (BBC 16th September 2004.) “Lessons” clearly not learned by the current British government.

The communications, in Sir John Chilcot’s words to former Cabinet Secretary Lord O’Donnell related to: “The question when and how the Prime Minister (Tony Blair) made commitments to the US about the UK’s involvement in military action in Iraq, and subsequent decisions on the UK’s continuing involvement, is central to its considerations.”(Guardian 17th July 2013.)

Further: “Chilcot said the release of notes of the conversations between Blair and Bush would serve to ‘illuminate Mr Blair’s position at critical points’ in the run up to war.”

The Inquiry had also been seeking clarification from O’Donnell’s successor Sir Jeremy Heywood regarding inclusion of references to: “the content of Mr Blair’s notes to President Bush, and to the records of discussions between Mr Blair and Presidents Bush and Obama.” The wall remains in place.

Sir Jeremy Heywood, now the country’s most senior civil servant, was Tony Blair’s Private Secretary during the period of the trans-Atlantic lies that led to the Iraq war and during the creation of the Blair regime’s “dodgy dossiers.”

Interestingly too: “O’Donnell had consulted Blair before saying the notes must remain secret.” Effectively, one of the accused, in an action which has destroyed a country, lynched the President, murdered his sons and teenage nephew and caused the deaths of perhaps one and a half million people, decides what evidence can be presented before the Court. Chilcot, has seen the documents but seemingly needs the accused permission to publish them.

A stitch-up of which any “rogue” or “totalitarian” regime, would surely be proud.

Center to the dispute between the Inquiry, Cameron and his ennobled gate keepers is material requested for inclusion in the final Report: “to reflect its analysis of discussions in Cabinet and Cabinet Committees and their significance.”

The documents being denied to the Inquiry include twenty five pieces of correspondence sent by Tony Blair to George W. Bush and one hundred and thirty documents relating to conversations between these lead plotters of Iraq’s destruction. Additionally: “dozens of records of Cabinet meetings.”(i)

Ironically on 31st October 2006, David Cameron voted in favour of a motion brought by the Scottish National Party and Wales’ Plaid Cymru (“The Party of Wales”) calling for an Inquiry into the Blair government’s conduct of the Gulf war.

On 15th June 2009, in a parliamentary debate, the terms of the Chilcot Inquiry were presented in detail, duly recorded in Hansard, the parliamentary records.(ii.)

Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Blair’s successor stated: “In order that the committee is as objective and non-partisan as possible, the membership of the committee will consist entirely of non-partisan public figures acknowledged to be experts and leaders in their fields. There will be no representatives of political parties from either side of this House.”

David Cameron, then Leader of Opposition stated piously:

“The whole point of having an Inquiry is that it has to be able to make clear recommendations, to go wherever the evidence leads, to establish the full truth and to ensure that the right lessons are learned … in a way that builds public confidence.”

Cameron was particularly concerned about: “openness.” How times change.

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Başbakan Erdoğan, Irak Türkmen Cephesi Yürütme Kurulu üyelerini kabul etti.

Erdoğan, Irak Türkmen Cephesi ile görüştü

Başbakan Erdoğan, Irak Türkmen Cephesi Yürütme Kurulu üyelerini kabul etti.

05 Aralık 2013 Perşembe 20:55

Erdoğan'ın, Irak Türkmen Cephesi Başkanı Erşad Salihi ve beraberindekileri Haliç Kongre Merkezi'nde basına kapalı olarak kabulü yaklaşık 1,5 saat sürdü.

Başbakanlık kaynaklarından edinilen bilgiye göre, Erdoğan, Irak Türkmen Cephesi yetkililerini kabulü sırasında, Türkiye olarak, Irak Türkmenlerini iki ülkenin ortak tarihinin canlı bir tezahürü olarak gördüklerini söyledi.

Görüşmede, 30 Nisan 2014'te yapılması planlanan Irak genel seçimleri de gündeme geldi. Erdoğan, Irak'ta yapılacak genel seçimlerin, bu ülkedeki siyasetin yanı sıra bölgesel istikrar açısından da büyük önem arz ettiğine değinerek, bu çerçevede Irak Türkmen Cephesi liderliğine de büyük bir sorumluluk düştüğüne dikkati çekti.

Erdoğan, Kerkük'te dün terör saldırısında hayatını kaybedenler için duyduğu üzüntüyü de dile getirdi. Türkiye'nin, Irak'ta güvenlik ve barışın tesis edilmesine büyük önem verdiğini belirten Erdoğan, son dönemde Tuzhurmatu başta olmak üzere, Türkmenlerin yoğunlukta yaşadığı bölgelerde terör saldırılarının artmasından büyük üzüntü duyduğunu ifade etti.

Türkmenlerin, güvenlik başta olmak üzere, her türlü hak ve menfaatlerinin korunmasının, Türkiye'nin Irak politikasının vazgeçilmez bir unsuru olduğuna işaret eden Erdoğan, hem Irak merkezi hükümeti hem de Irak Kürdistan Bölgesel Yönetimi ile yapılan görüşmelerde bu hususu net bir şekilde ifade ettiklerini vurguladı.

Monday, 2 December 2013


Barbara Lochbihler, AP'nun Insan Hakları Komitesi Başkanı 
 Struan Stevenson, AP'nun Irak ile İlişkiler Delegasyon Başkanı
Marino Busdachin, UNPO Genel Sekreteri.

 Dr Hassan Aydinli ve Barbara Lochbihler hanımefendi AP'nun Insan Hakları Komitesi Başkanı

sağdan sola :Metin Kazak AP'nun İnsan Hakları Komitesi Başkan Yardımcısı
Dr Hassan Aydınlı ITC Avrupa Birliği Temsilcisi
Tunne Kelam AP'nun Dişişleri Komisyon üyesi

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.

Belçika Brüksel’de konuşlanmış Türkmen Cephesi  Avrupa Birliği Temsilcisi olarak, 2003 ten beri Irak Türkmenlerinin sorunlarının Avrupa Birliği ülkeleri delegasyonlarınca daha iyi anlaşılması için gerekli kulis faaliyetleri, konferanslar ve müzakereler düzenlemekteyiz. Birleşmiş Milletlerin İnsan Hakları Komisyonu gibi ilgili birimlerinin de bu faaliyetlerimize katkıda bulunmalarını sağlamaktayız.

Gerektiğinde; Belçika Dışişleri Bakanlığı, ve Avrupa Birliği Parlamentosu başkanı, Dışişleri komisyonu Başkanı ve üyeleri, Dışişleri komisyonu İnsan Hakları Alt Komitesi Başkanı ve üyeleri,  ve Irak ile İlişkiler Delegasyonu Başkanı ve üyeleri ile doğrudan görüşmeler yaparak Irak Türkmenlerine yapılan haksızlıkları ve mezalimi anlatmaktayız.

Ayrıca; UNPO (Temsil edilmeyen Uluslar ve İnsanlar Organizasyonu), HRWF (Sınırsız İnsan Hakları organizasyonu) IILHR (Uluslararası kanun ve İnsan Hakları), MRGI (Uluslararası Azınlık Grupların Hakları), ve DÜTAP(Dünya Türkleri Avrupa Platformu gibi kurulumlarla da yakın ilişkilerde bulunarak destek ve katkılarını sağlamaktayız. 

Irak Türkmenlerinin karşılaşmakta oldukları zorluklar ve yapılan insan hakları ihlalleri Avrupa Parlamentosu Dışişleri ve İnsan Hakları komisyonu ile değişik tarihlerde yaptığımız toplantılar ve yazışmalarda ayrıntılı olarak görüşülmüştü.

Aynı sorunlar UNPO Genel Sekreteri Marino Busdachin, ve UNPO Brüksel Ofis müdürü Maud Vanwalleghem ile de görüşüldükten sonra UNPO Genel Sekreteri Marino Busdachin’nin Avrupa Parlamentosu’nun Dışişleri Komisyonu İnsan Hakları Alt Komitesi tarafından 27 Kasım 2013 özel oturumunda bir Uzman Konuşması yapmak üzere davet edilmesi kararlaştırılmıştı.
Marino Busdachin daha önce İngilizcesini sizlere gönderdiğim şimdi de Türkçe tercümesini aşağıda sunduğum, ve tamamı bizim kendisine önceden verdiğimiz bilgileri içeren, uzman konuşmasını yapmıştır.

Ayrıca; toplantı sırasında katılımcılara dağıtılan, ve tamamı taframızdan sağlanan bilgileri içeren,  “The Turkmen Reality in Iraq” başlıklı sunum (bilgilendirme) notunun Türkçe tercümesini de kısa zamanda size göndereceğimi bildirmek isterim. 


ITC Avrupa Birliği Temsilciliği
Brüksel - Belçika


Avrupa Parlamentosu Duyumunda ki Irak Türkmenleri Hakkında UNPO Uzman Konuşması

UNPO Genel Sekreteri, Bay Marino Busdachin, Avrupa Parlamentosu'nda Irakta ki mevcut etnik ve dinsel azınlıklar hakkında özellikle Irak Türkmenlerine odaklı bir konuşma sunmak için davet edilmiştir. Bu duyum İnsan Hakları Alt Komitesi ve Irak ile İlişkiler Delegasyonu tarafından düzenleşmiştir.

Bay Busdachin'in kousmasi:

Hanım ve Beyefındiler

Öncelikle ve içtenlikle, UNPO'yu Irak'ta insan hakları ve azınlıkların durumunun çözümlenmesi hakkında güncel bilgilendirme amacıyla tekrar davet ettikleri için, Avrupa Parlamentosu İnsan Hakları Alt Komitesi ve Irak ile İlişkiler Delegasyonu'na teşekkür etmek isterim.   

Hali hazırda ki durumlarının gerçekten tehlike arz etmesi ve hedeflenmiş/tahsisli bir yardıma ihtiyaç duyulması nedeniyle Irak Türkmenlerinin durumlarına özellikle vurgu yapmam istendi.

Irak Türkmenleri, 3 milyonluk nüfuslarıyla, Irak'ta ki üçüncü büyük toplumu oluşturmaktadırlar. Bilhassa Irak'ın kuzeyinde ve Otonom Kürt Bölgesinde toplanmışlardır. Irak Türkmenlerinin birlikte yerleşik en büyük grubu, başkentleri olarak kabullendikleri sözde "tartışmalı bölge" ki, Kerkük şehri ve vilayetinde yaşamaktadırlar. Bağdad'ta ki Irak merkezi yönetimi ve Erbil'de ki Bölgesel Kürt Yönetimi (KRG) arasında sıkça çekişmelere neden olan ülkenin petrol ve doğal gaz zenginliklerine sahip tartışmalı bölgesi, Kerkük. 

Irak Türkmenleri, tehlike altında ki diğer etnik ve dinsel gruplarla birlikte, yaşamlarını, kültürel geleneklerini ve mülklerini hedefleyen orantısız riskle sürekli olarak karşılaşmaktadırlar. Kararsız politik ve güvenlik durumu, köken, etnik, dinsel veya cinsiyete hedeflenmiş şiddet olayları, fiili ayırımcılık, ve her kademede ki yönetim ve kurumsal destek ve korunmanın yokluğu birçok azınlık grupların Irak'ı terk etmelerine sebep olmuştur. Bu bir etnik temizlik midir?

2005 Irak Anayasası; azınlıkların korunması, ülkenin çok uluslu birimlerinin tanınması, özellikle ayrımcılık karşıtı ve kültürel hakların verilmesi bakımından yeterli bir çerçeve uygulama sağlamıştır. Ancak, Irak bu hakların etkin olarak uygulanması için gereken kanunlardan ve altyapıdan yoksundur.

Süregelen güvensizlikle; Irak Türkmenleri, yeni anayasa yürürlüğe girdikten sonra dahi, korkunç boyutta işkence uygulanan ve canlı yakılan öğretmenler, teröristlerce katledilmiş bir cenazenin yas çadırını hedefleyen terörist saldırısı, intihar bombalamalar ve insan kaçırmalar, ve daha başka birçok korku saçan olaylar ne yazık ki Türkmenler için olağan hale gelmiştir.

Kasım 2013 başında Kerkük'te birkaç kişinin yaralanmasına neden olan en az 4 patlama oldu. 8 kasım 2013te, Türkmen şair Jasim Muhemed Ferej Tuzlu kaçırıldıktan 24 saat sonra ölü olarak bulundu. 17 Kasım 2013te, Tuz-Hurmatu'da geride 21 ölü ve 40 yaralı bırakan 3 intihar bombacısı ve yol kenarına yerleştirilmiş 12 baba patlatıldı. Geçen Pazar günü, 24 Kasım 2013te, Telafer'de ki bir polis kontrol noktasında bomba yüklü otomobil patlatıldığında 3 kişi öldü ve 20 kişi yaralandı. Aynı gün, gene Tuz-Hurmatu yöresinde ki bir camiye yapılan intihar saldırısında 12 kişi öldü ve 75 ten fazla insan yaralandı. .

Irak Türkmen nüfusunu sadece fiziksel güvenlik değil bir çok durumda topraklarını terk etmeye zorlayan ekonomik güvensizlik de endişelendirmektedir. Arazi müsaderesi (el konulması) Ba'as rejiminin asimilasyon politikalarının en önemli özelliklerinden biri idi. Kerkük bölgesinde el konulan % 80ni Türkmen mülkü olan arsaların toplam yüz ölçümü 357 milyon metrekareyi bulmaktadır. Gasp edilen toprakların iadesine cevaz veren yasal düzenlemelere rağmen çok az sayıda Türkmen gasp edilen arazilerine kavuşmuş ve birkaçı da tazminat almışlardır

Hali hazırda, Kerkük Emlak Başvuru Komisyonuna yapılmış 41 bin şikayet/talep kayıtlıdır. Bunlardan sadece %7.7si karara bağlanmıştır. Beşir köyünde ki benzeri bir durumda, Türkmen aileleri topraklarına el konup tehcir edilerek mağdur durumda bırakılmışlardır. Şikayet/talepleri diğerleri ile birlikte 2005 yılında Emlak Başvuru komisyonunca işleme konmuşsa da Irak otoritelerince henüz cevaplandırılmamıştır.

Kasım 2013te, Kerkük İl idaresi, emniyet güçleri ile birlikte, tarım alanlarının büyük bir kısmının lağım projesi için ellerinden alınmasını protesto edenTurkalan köylülerinin protestolarını orantısız güç kullanarak şiddetle bastırmışlardır. Irak devleti yasal olmaksızın 332 dönüm arazili köyü, projenin durdurulması için  mahkeme kararı alan köy halkının itirazına rağmen, gasp etmiştir. Bu durumun devamı olarak 5 genç köylü tutuklandılar. Protesto sırasında ki olayları desteklemek için boykot teşebbüsü edildiğinde Özel Kuvvetler; televizyon kameralarına, mobil telefonlara ve olayların kayıtlarına el koymuşlardır.

2011 yılında, Avrupa Parlamentosu da Irak Türkmenleri üzerine düzenlenen daha önce ki DROI duyumunda, UNPO Türkmenlerin güvensizliğini giderecek herhangi bir düzenlemenin bulunmadığını söylenmişti. Ben iki yıl önce söylediklerimi şimdi yinelemekten dolayı derin bir hayal kırıklığındayım. Avrupa Parlamentosu'nun Türkmenlere karşı artan şiddet hareketlerinden derin endişelerini belirten ve Irak yetkililerini güvenlik ve savaş terörizmini gidermeye davet eden 14 Mart 2013 ve 10 Ekim 2013 çözünürlük bildirgelerine rağmen, durum Irak Türkmenleri için iyi olacak şekilde asla değişmemiştir.

Önemle not edelim ki 11 Mayıs 2012de imzalanAvrupa Birliği - Irak Ortaklık ve İşbirliği ticari olanaklarla birlikte yasal işbirliğine temel teşkil etmektedir. Bayan Catherine Ashton'un, Irak'ta ki saldırıları kınayan ve bütün politik güçleri her türlü şiddete karşı ortak cephe almalarını teşvik eden, 18 Haziran 2013te ki beyanına rağmen durum aynen devam etmektedir. Aynı beyanda Bayan Ashton Enerji Merkezi kurulması için Irak'a 4 milyon Euro verilmesi için bir sözleşmenin de imzalandığından söz eder. Bu sözleşme neden Irak devletine Anayasal şartlar ve uluslar arası antlaşmalar uygulanmasında yardımcı olacak "ihtiyaç duyulan" yasal işbirliğini bilhassa dikkate almamaktadır?

Bu hafta Birleşmiş Milletler Güvenlik Konseyişiddet sorumlularının yargı önüne getirilmelerini vurgulayan ve Devletleri suçluların hesap vermesi için Irak otoriteleri ile işbirliği yapmaya davet edenbir bildirge yayınladı. Bu, bu ihtilafı sona erdirmek için atılmış davetkar bir adımdır, fakat açıktır ki çok daha fazlasını yapmak gerekir. Kanımca bu, karışık etnik-dinsel toplumların bulunduğu bir ülkenin felaketinin reçetesidir. Irak'ta ki Türkmenler ve diğer etnik azınlıklar için yegane barışçıl çözüm; etnik ve dinsel hakları güven altına alacak ve ayırımcılığa müeyyide uygulayacak demokratik bir sistemdir.

Irak'ı orta doğuda yegane ülke yapan çok eskilere dayanan (kadim) hoşgörü, tolerans ve birliktelik henüz tamamen kaybolmamıştır, ama temin etmek için uluslar arası sorumlulukların ve tedbirlerin alınması gerekmektedir.

Bundan sonra yorum yapmak isteyen katılımcı konuşmacılara zaman verildi. 

Bay Metin KazakMEP, EEAS için sorular hazırladı, ancak oturumda ki zaman darlığından dolayı yazılı olarak cevaplandırılacaklardır. Bununla beraber kendisi böylece; kaçırma ve işkence mağduru olarak "en müsait ve en kötü durumda" ki Irak'ın Türkmen azınlığına yardımın önemini vurgulama şansını elde etti.

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Wishing for Turkmens to work TOGETHER in the interest of ALL

Wishing for Turkmens to work TOGETHER in the interest of ALL.

And NOT against each other for the sake of their personal benefit.

Irak Türkmen Cephesi İnsan Hakları Bürosu - Bildiri

Konu / Kınama
Sayı : 13

Tarih : 01.12.2013

Bugün,Pazar  01.12.2013 sabahleyin, Irak Türkmen Cephesi (ITC) Başkanı ve Kerkük milletvekili Sayın Erşad Salihi'nin, Kerkük'e 10 kilometre uzaklıktaki Taze ilçesine ziyarete giderken, konvoyununa yapılan menfur bombalı saldırıyı şiddetle kınar,saygıdeğer Başkanımıza ve Türkmen mücadeleci sembolüne çok geçmis olsun dileriz.

Allah kendisini mazlum Türkmen milleti için saklasın ve korusun.

Irak Türkmen Cephesi

İnsan Hakları Bürosu

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Hearing on the Iraqi Turkmen at the EU Parliament in Brussels - Speech delivered by UNPO's General Secretary

UNPO Expert Speech On Iraqi Turkmen At European Parliament Hearing

Expert Speech before the DROI and D-IQ
UNPO General Secretary, Marino Busdachin
European Parliament
27 November 2013

MEP Barbara Lochbihler, President of Sub-committee Human Rights
MEP Struan Stevenson, President Delegation with Iraq
Mr. Marino Busdachin, Secretary General of UNPO

The hearing was co-chaired by Mrs. Barbara Lochbihler and Mr. Struan Stevenson

ITF EU Representative Dr Hassan Aydinli and the President of Sub-Committee Human Rights MEP Barbara Lochbihler

From left to right: MEP Tunne Kelam, ITF EU Representative Dr Hassan Aydinli and Vice-President Sub-Committee Human Rights MEP Metin Kazak


UNPO General Secretary, Mr. Marino Busdachin, was invited to deliver an expert speech in the European Parliament on the current situation of ethnic and religious minorities in Iraq, with a specific focus on the plight of the Iraqi Turkmen. The hearing is an initiative of the Subcommittee on Human Rights and the Delegation for Relations with Iraq. 

Speech by Mr. Busdachin: 

I would first and foremost like to thank the Delegation for Relations with Iraq and the Human Rights Subcommittee for inviting the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization, once again, to provide an update on the situation of human rights and minorities in Iraq. I was asked to put special emphasis on the situation of the Iraqi Turkmen, as their situation at the moment is indeed very precarious and in need of targeted assistance.
The Iraqi Turkmen are the third largest group in Iraq, with estimates of around 3 million people. They are concentrated mainly in the northern part of Iraq and in the Autonomous Kurdish Region. The largest compactly settled group of Iraqi Turkmen lives in the so called “disputed territories”, notably in the city and province of Kirkuk, considered as their capital. Sparring between Iraq’s central government in Baghdad and the Kurdistan Region Government (KRG) in Erbil is frequent, particularly with regard to the country’s oil and gas rich disputed territories, notably Kirkuk.

The Turkmen of Iraq, together with other vulnerable ethnic and religious components, continue to face disproportionate risks to their lives, cultural traditions, and property. An instable political and security situation, targeted violence based on racial, ethnic, religious or gender bias, de jure and de facto discrimination, and a lack of institutional support and protection at most levels of government, have caused several from minority groups to urgently leave Iraq. Is this a form of ethnic cleansing?

The Iraqi Constitution of 2005 sets a satisfactory framework in terms of minority protection and recognizing the multinational component of the country - specifically anti-discrimination and cultural provisions. However, Iraq is lacking laws and infrastructure to effectively implement these provisions.

The continued insecurity Iraqi Turkmen are facing, even after the new Constitution entered into force, takes gruesome proportions: teachers being tortured and burnt alive, a terrorist attack targeting a tent full of mourners for a man who himself was assassinated by terrorists, suicide bombings and abductions, and many other incidents inciting fear are, sadly enough, commonplace for the Turkmen.

In early November 2013, at least 4 explosions took place injuring several people in Kirkuk. On 8 November 2013, the Turkmen poet Jasim Muhemed Ferej Tuzlu was found killed after a 24 hour kidnapping. On 17 November 2013, three suicide bombers and 12 roadside bombs ripped through Tuz-Khurmato, leaving 21 dead and 40 wounded. Last Sunday, on 24 November 2013, 3 people were killed and 20 people were wounded when a car bomb exploded at a police checkpoint in Telafer. In the same day, 12 people were killed and over 75 were wounded in a suicide attack on a mosque yet again in the Tuz-Khurmato area.

Physical security is not the only matter of concern for the Turkmen population in Iraq, but also their lack of economic security, which has in many cases forced them to flee from their land. Confiscation of land was one of the major features of the assimilation policies of the Ba’ath regime. The total surface area of the lands confiscated in the Kirkuk region was 357 million square meters, of which about 80% was Turkmen-owned. In spite of property legislation demanding the return of seized lands, very little Turkmen land has been restored and very few Turkmen have been compensated for these confiscated lands. Currently, there are more than 41 thousand complaints registered with the Property Claims Commission of Kirkuk. Of these complaints, only 7.7% of the cases have been decided. Similar to this is the case of Beshir village, in which the Turkmen families were victims of deportation and confiscation of land. Despite handling their complaints together before the Property Claims Commission in 2005, the Iraqi authorities have not yet responded.

In November 2013, the administration of Kirkuk Province, in cooperation with its Security Forces, used violent methods to repress the Turkalan villagers’ protests against the illegal appropriation of a great part of their agricultural land for the installation of a sewage project. The Iraqi government illegally confiscated 332 acres of the village, despite the objection of the land owners who had obtained a Court decision to halt the project. As a consequence of the events, 5 young villagers were arrested. In an attempt to boycott the coverage of the incidents during the protests, Special Forces confiscated television cameras and mobile phones containing footage of the event.

In 2011, in a previous DROI hearing held in the European Parliament on the Iraqi Turkmen, UNPO stated that there were no measures in place to address the Turkmen insecurity. I am profoundly disappointed to have to reiterate what I said 2 years ago. The situation for the Iraqi Turkmen did not change for the better at all, despite the European Parliament’s resolutions from 14 March 2013 and 10 October 2013 on the plight of the Turkmen, in which it expressed its deep concern at the increasing acts of violence against them and called the Iraqi authorities to improve the security and combat terrorism.
It is important to note that the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement EU-Iraq, signed on 11 May 2012, provides a basis for legislative cooperation alongside the trade provisions. Despite Lady Catherine Ashton’s statement, on 18 June 2013, condemning the wave of attacks in Iraq and encouraging all political forces to create a common front against all forms of violence, the situation has remained the same. The same statement mentions that Lady Ashton also signed an agreement providing Iraq with the amount of 4 million Euros of EU funding to create an Energy Centre. Why is this agreement mainly ignoring the legislative cooperation that will help the Iraqi state to develop the ‘so-needed’ legislation to implement the Constitutional provisions and International treaties?

This week, the UN SC issued a statement on the violence in Iraq, stressing the need to bring those responsible for the violence to justice and called on Governments to cooperate with Iraqi authorities to hold the perpetrators to account. This is a welcoming step to put an end to this conflict, but clearly much more needs to be done. Long term hostilities and conflicts between ethnic and religious groups in Iraq are deteriorating the political system, which is largely based on ethnic and religious divisions. This is in my opinion, a recipe for disaster in a country with mixed ethno-religious populations. A democratic system securing ethnic and religious rights and sanctioning discrimination is the only peaceful solution for the Turkmen and other ethnic minorities in Iraq.

International obligations and measures must be taken to ensure that the age-old tolerance and coexistence, which made Iraq a unique place in the Middle East, is not lost forever.

Background documents
- Expert Speech by Marino Busdachin

Time was then given to speakers from the floor wishing to comment. Mr. Metin KazakMEP, had prepared questions for the EEAS - which will be answered to in writing because of a lack of time during the session. Nevertheless, he took the opportunity to emphasize the importance of assisting the Turkmen minority of Iraq as they are "the most vulnerable and in the worst situation", victims of kidnappings and torture.

For further background information on the Iraqi Turkmen, click on the image below,


The Turkmen Reality in Iraq


The Iraqi Turkmen are a minority of just under 3 million, predominantly present in the Iraqi provinces of Mosul, Erbil, Kirkuk, Salahaddin and Diyal, Baghdad and Wasit. They represent the third largest ethnic group in Iraq (13% of the population). 

Kirkuk is considered by the Turkmen as their capital city. This area, within the ‘Turkmen’ region of Iraq, produces nearly 70% of the Iraqi petroleum and 2.2% of the world’s. 

They are primarily politically represented by The Iraqi Turkmen Front (ITF).This organization includes all Turkmen parties and movements such as the INTP (Iraqi National Turkmen Party); the Turkmeneli Party (TP) ; the Adalet party (AP); the Islamic Movement of Iraqi Turkmens (IMIT); and the Independents Movement. It also includes the Turkmen Nationalist Movement (TNM), the Turkmen Wafa Movement, and the Islamic Union of Iraqi Turkmens (IUIT). 

Historical Background 

Originating from Central Asia, the Turkmen are descendants of the Oghuz tribes. The decline of their influence first began after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. 

Throughout the 1920’s both Turkmen and Kurd minorities resisted British authority and the Hejazi Hashemite monarchy, and as a result the cultural rights of Turkmen communities were gradually eroded. In the 1930s a rapid demographic change produced ethnic tension, and Turkmen communities began to feel the effects of marginalisation. 

Violence continued to escalate until 1959, when communist and separatist militias massacred Turkmen leaders along with hundreds of Turkmens in the city of Kerkuk. Tensions were later exacerbated even further with the establishment of Ba’ath Party rule in 1968. The 1970s where in fact characterised by other breaches of Turkmen human rights such as the ‘Arabisation of Kirkuk’ in 1971, and by their discrimination through employment opportunities, unfair dismissals, deliberate measures to worsen their living conditions, forced displacement and deportation, and interference with their right of ownership.

After seizing power in 1979, Saddam Hussein’s regime instigated a campaign of intensive “Arabisation”, systematically expelling the Turkmen, instead promoting the resettlement of the Arab population. This period of persecution effectively destroyed Turkmen civil society, forcing many of its political institutions underground or into exile abroad. 

Unfortunately, despite the regime change in Iraq in 2003, the Turkmen tragedy continues. Many Iraqi Turkmen communities believe that their historical presence and influence has remained marginalised during the process of reconstructing the Iraqi state, and that more has to be done to correct the past injustices they have suffered. 

Led and founded by Dr. Muzaffer Arslan, who also represents the Iraqi Turkmen in UNPO. 

And also suppression and intensive assimilation policies, forced cultural erosion that ranged from political persecution and exile, to terror, massacres and ethnic cleansing. (Large numbers of Turkmen intellectuals were accused of political activities and disappeared after their arrest during the Baathist regime; nothing has been heard of them since.) 

Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization • www. • +32 25 13 14 59 •

Briefing Note 

November 2013 

Social and Economic Issues 

The confiscation of land (‘Land Grabbing’) was one of the major features of the assimilation policies of the Ba’ath regime. 

The village of Beshir, situated South West of Kirkuk city, presents a perfect case study of the consequences of such policies. The inhabitants of Beshir were landowners and farmers, whose ancestors had settled in the area several centuries ago. During the Ottoman rule, Beshir’s inhabitants officially registered their lands in their names, and were issued official land property certificates, which they renewed in 1921. 

In the early 1980s, after the start of the Iraq-Iran war, Iraqi security forces arrested and executed hundreds of intellectuals from the village, accusing them of being activists in the outlawed Islamic Da’wa Party. In 1986, while the young men of Beshir were fighting in the war against Iran, their families were given 48 hours to pack their personal effects and leave their homes. 

Houses were razed to the ground and agricultural lands were confiscated, to be later given to Arabs brought by the Ba’ath regime. Each Arab family was given 10.000 Iraqi Dinars in cash as an incentive to build their house on Turkmen lands, while the Turkmen families received no compensation. 

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

In 2003 when the U.S. military occupied northern Iraq, they did not take control of the area around Beshir and the Arabs which had been installed there by the previous regime remained in the village. The original Turkmen inhabitants of Beshir started to return, demanding their lands. However, the property dispute remained unsettled. 

Nearly a decade has passed since this ‘agreement’ and the Arabs still refuse to leave Beshir. The original Turkmen families ofBeshir who were victims of deportation, in 2005 handed their complaints together with copies of their deeds to the Property Claims Commission in order to retrieve their confiscated lands and be compensated for the destruction of their houses and for their loss of earnings since 1986, but the Iraqi authorities have not yet responded. 

In the Kerkuk province, 80% of the land was Turkmen-owned. In spite of property legislation demanding the return of seized lands, there are currently still 41,874 complaints registered with the local Property Claims Commission. 

Of these complaints, only 3,236 cases have been decided. Since 2005 therefore, approximately only 2.000 out of 45.000 files belonging to Turkmens have been processed. This fact alone stands as evidence of discrimination against the Turkmens. 

Security Challenges 

It remains challenging to illustrate the extent to which the Turkmen community in Iraq has been exposed to ethnic cleansing for decades without having been attended to by the international community. Permanently fears of explosive power struggles lurk, particularly over the control of the ‘powder-keg’ city of Kirkuk. These only serve to further place the minority in a precarious position. 

The Tal Afer district of Iraq was attacked twice by helicopters, tanks and tens of thousands of soldiers in 2004 and, a year later, in 2005, 1,350 were left dead and 2,650 were wounded. In December 2007, a suicide bombing in Kirkuk shook its residents and stoked security fears, killing at least 55, and injuring another 120. On 17 December 2012, the bodies of two abducted teachers were found near the Humera village (which is located 35km south of Kirkuk) both carrying signs of torture and bullets. The death of these two individuals generated deep reactions among the Turkmen, as in the view of many the two teachers were killed for sectarian reasons and only for being Turkmen. In January 2013, a crowded tent full of Turkmen mourners in Tuz Khurmato was transformed into a mass killing ground by a suicide bombing with genocidal intent, that left at least 35 people dead and 117 wounded. 

Due to a media emphasis on the Iraqi Kurdish minority, Western perspectives of realities in Northern Iraq have become slightly distorted. As an example, human rights violations against the Kurds have often been highlighted, while violations committed against other communities in the region have largely been ignored. 

On 14 March 2013, the European Parliament adopted a Resolution (welcomed by the UNPO) on the plight of minority groups in Iraq, and specifically the Iraqi Turkmen. The resolution states that the European Parliament condemns the recent attacks on the Turkmen community and affirms that ‘despite the reference in the Constitution.