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 EXPERT SPEECH ON IRAQI TURKMEN AT EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT HEARING



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,





 TURKMEN BRIEFING NOTE

The Turkmen Reality in Iraq

Introduction

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. unpo.org • +32 25 13 14 59 • unpo.brussels@unpo.org

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.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

VIOLATIONS OF THE HUMAN RIGHTS OF THE IRAQI TURKMEN


Summary of violations of the human rights of the Iraqi Turkmen
 from 2011 until November 2013
Statistics prepared by the Human Rights Bureau of the Iraqi Turkmen Front



Assassinations, Kidnaps,Killed by explosions and Injured by explosions
Notes
total
11/2013
2012
2011
Type of violations
Statistics of the Human Rights bureau of the Iraqi Turkmen Front note that the period for the preparation of Turkmen kidnapped approximate due to non-registration of the families of the kidnapped suits at police stations, fearing for the fate of their sons. kidnapped
84
25
46
13
Assassinations
40
14
12
14
Kidnaps
328
256
61
11
Killed by explosions
1761
1323
329
109
Injured by explosions



Arrested, displaced,sentenced to prison and to death for political reasons
Notes
No.
Type of violations
Approximated number taken from prisoners
300
Arrests in the detention centers of local administration in northern Iraq
Approximated number
1,200
Prisoners In the prisons of the central government
Approximated number, some of the families were returned
20,000
Internally displaced
Approximated number according to the IMO
250,000
Flee out of Iraq
Taken from government Martyrs foundation
700
Hanged by Baath regime
Taken from government Martyrs foundation
1,050
Sentenced by Baath regime



Property Claim Commission
The figures were taken from the Property Claim Commission
Total
No. of cases
Region

58.742
11,268
Kerkuk 1
Presented Cases
14,159
Kerkuk 2
17,620
Taze /Bashir
1,933
Daquq
4,870
TuzKhurmatu
8,892
Nineva

The figures were taken from the Property Claim Commission
Total
No. of cases
Region

17,873
3,352
Kerkuk 1
resolved cases
13,811
Kerkuk 2
257
Taze/ Bashir
375
Daquq
178
TuzKhurmatu
5,733
Nineva


Monday, 25 November 2013

Tuz Khurmatu demands to be re-joined to Kirkuk province


Tuz Khormato demands to be re-joined to Kirkuk province
25th November 2013




(IraqiNews.com) The Local Council of Tuz Khurmatu district within Salah-il-Din province demanded the Secretariat General of the Council of Ministers to return the area under the administration of Kirkuk province.

The Mayor of Tuz Khurmatu district, Shalal Abd Ahmed, reported in a press conference. ”The request came after the increase of recent attacks and since the concerned authorities failed to end these attacks even after the visit of senior delegation to the area.”

”The request must be taken seriously in the interest of preserving security in Tuz Khurmatu district since Kirkuk in benefits by the district in terms of security and services,” he added.

The Tuz Khurmatu district was under the administration of Kirkuk province during the seventies period till 1976 when some administrative amendments were made and the district was joined to Salah-il-Din province along with four others districts.

Tuz Khurmatu district, which is mostly inhabited by Turkmens, undergoes many terrorist attacks and the people of the afflicted district blame the Federal Government and Al Qaeda organization for these attacks.

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Caricature by Y. Subhi


Türkmeneli’nden...Türk’ün dilinden: Türkiye’ye Sitem, Mahir Nakip

Türkmeneli’nden...Türk’ün dilinden: Türkiye’ye Sitem, Mahir Nakip


Türkmeneli’nden...Türk’ün dilinden: Türkiye’ye Sitem


Mahir Nakip
mnakip@yahoo.com




9-10 Kasım’da IMPR tarafından Ankara’da düzenlenen ‘’Kürtler,
Barış, Demokrasi ve Çözüm Modellerini Tartışıyor’’ toplantısına
katıldım. Burada Irak’tan KDP, KYB, Goran ve İslami Kürt
Partisi’nin temsilcilerinin yanında, Suriye’den ve İran’dan Kürt
siyasetçiler bulundu. Türkiye’den BDP’den de katılım oldu.
Bu masum başlık altında her ne hikmetse bütün katılımcılar
Türkiye’deki Kürt açılımına hararetle temas etti. KDP adına
konuşan Hemin Havramani, Türkiye’nin Kürtler konusunda daha
güçlü ve sürdürülebilir adımlar atmasını, demokratikleşme paketi
çerçevesinde yasal ve anayasal değişikliklere daha emin ve hızlı
adımlarla ilerlemesi icap ettiğini ve Öcalan’ın basınla daha rahat
ilişki kurmasının sağlanması gerektiğini vurguladı. İbretle dinledim.
Doğrusu aklımdan, ‘Türkiye’den AKP, CHP ve MHP’nin
temsilcileri Erbil’e gidip orada Irak Türkmenlerinin sorunları
konusunda bir toplantı düzenleyerek Kürtlere bazı tavsiyelerde
bulunsalar, Erbil Yönetimi acaba bunu nasıl karşılar’ sorusu
aklımdan geçmedi değil. Neyse geçelim...

.../.
http://www.bizturkmeniz.com/tr/index.php?page=arti

Friday, 22 November 2013

Iraq Kurds to Pump Oil to Turkey as Truce Seen With Baghdad (1)


November 20, 2013


Iraq’s Kurds plan to start pumping oil to Turkey next month via a pipeline controlled by the central government in Baghdad, signaling an easing of their dispute over resources, according to two people familiar with the plan.
The new line will take Kurdish oil into the existing pipe that runs from Kirkuk in Iraq to Turkey’s Mediterranean port of Ceyhan, initially carrying 150,000 barrels a day starting in December, according to the Turkish energy industry officials who asked not to be identified because the information isn’t public. An Iraqi energy industry manager, who requested anonymity for the same reason, said the state oil company has accounted for the extra oil in 2014 plans.
Ashti Hawrami, the Kurdish Regional Government’s natural resources minister, said at a press conference last month that the 40-kilometer pipeline will have a capacity of 300,000 barrels a day. Mehmet Sepil, president of London-listed Genel Energy, said at the same conference that the pipeline from Dohuk to Fishkabur on the Turkish border will carry 200,000 barrels a day from its Tawke and Taq Taq fields.