View by Ersat Hurmuzlu
The Turkoman in Iraq constitutes an important recognized part of the Iraqi populace. They have contributed to the maturation of the concept of a balanced government that values justice and law. They preserved the element of citizenship in a balanced and parallel manner along with other ethnic groups that adopted Iraq as a mother land.
Historically, the Turkoman did not get entangled in ethnic or religious conflicts with other Iraqi communities. Up to the new republic era, the Turkoman of Iraq were not involved in sectarian, ethnic or religious skirmishes with Arabs, Kurds, Assyrians, Armenians or even the Yazidies, except for minor incidences that were instigated by foreign influences who were alien to the nation.
The Turkoman always resorted to logical wisdom to maintain their course even at times when during the 1950’s, the Middle East was ensnared in regional turmoil. They resorted to a defensive strategy to avoid being pulled into chaos and, they were never confrontational in events that promised control of land, influence and gaining a foot hold within the internal politics.
The current Socio-political course was mandated by the geographical circumstances for the Iraqi Turkoman; they have not suffered from lack of political influence and, they are the descendents of societies and empires that established political and social systems, which practiced justice, faith, and mercy.
Influenced by the process of political maturity during the previous century, the Iraqi Turkoman organized and enhanced their national political course especially, during the last half century. Their ideology was refined, and they avoided other far-off thoughts that called for radicalism and irrational political prejudices. Thus, it characteristically appeared as a cohesive course that anticipated a political course supported and accepted by the Iraqi Turkoman regardless of their sectarian or social believes.
Time and again, the various political and social societies, clubs and student unions that were established by the Turkoman maintained and nourished the continuity by enrolling youth with convictions to convey this message and thoughts to coming generations. Beyond a shadow of a doubt, this course was surrounded by earnest and honest elements that adhered to its principles. Obviously, those few that went astray from this course for material or opportunistic gains were rejected by the society and drifted out of the course of the Turkoman community’s adopted social course.
Iraqi Turkoman kept calling for a country and a government which respects their peculiarity, right to live in dignity, freedom, and ability to practice their national, cultural, and political privileges. Their vision was adapted from their allegiance to noble thoughts and systems that will guide the politics and the future of the entire country.
1. The Political Route of the Iraqi Turkoman:
The Iraqi Turkoman selected peaceful means in their political struggle. They do not resort to armed intervention in solving conflicts. Their moral and intellectual practices dictates rejection of violence, with the exception of a few events that were overwhelmed by emotional crises, the use of aggressive means in the political arena has been avoided. This was the reason for the absence of radical movements or organizations among them as such movements sprouted all over the Middle-East.
The commencement of authorized political and cultural organizations was favorably accepted by the majority, and people in Baghdad, Musul and Erbil rushed to join them and especially “The Turkoman Brotherhood Club” that in turn enriched the Turkoman political movement. Surprisingly, because of this choice, they accepted the serious challenge that was associated with dangers and difficulties even more than the danger that the underground movements have experienced.
Nevertheless, it attracted a large populace and never suffered from lack of enriched thoughts or membership that was utilized in the administration of the affairs of the club.With the stabilization of various political movements, one notices that those organizations that did not resort to arms have been more successful then those that did. Some examples to prove this view are warranted. The Palestinian Resistance Movement, the Irish Secret Army, Bader-Mayinhoff organization, Red Banner of Japan, the Red Khmer, the Victorious Uprising, the Basque Independence Movement, the uprising of the Iraqi Kurds, even the Barzani-Talabani conflict and the PKK movement are all live examples.
These movements, as they opted for the choice of bloody-armed struggle, have not achieved any noticeable results. While in contrast to the African National Movement, Indian Non-Violent Independence Movement, Khomeini’s upraise, the fall of the Eastern Block and the Oslo Treaty, all of which have yielded considerable success that surpassed the armed option. Such legitimate and acceptable means are often fruitful, even though they may be delayed for some time and, this becomes so trivial in the history of nations.
In this regard, we point out that the important tasks of Iraqi Turkoman are to invest in their manpower development, strengthening ideals, honesty in political declarations, belief in their just cause and, to sustain their non-vindictive and correct national course. Obviously, the Turkoman will resort to peaceful and civilized means in pursuing their political and national objectives. They will set up the required manpower and know how that would shoulder the responsibilities for an honest and just struggle, sustain and protect the achieved goals.
2. Resources of the Political Movement
The moral and material aspects of a nationalistic political movement and its vital foundation must originate from within the political purpose. Foundations of any political strive have to originate and be representative of the chosen political path, without any interference or vital support from others.With the dynamic evolution of world affairs, it is natural for political movements to seek external support to sustain their existence.
Unfortunately, they will be dragged into their supporters’ vicious cycles of interests and influences and, if for any reason that support is pulled out from them, they will wake up disappointed to realize the bitterness of reality.
Therefore, the vital sources and foundations of the political and social actions have to be original and native. Moral, material and intellectual participation of those who believe in the cause will be cherished. Any external support must be unconditional and be relatively associated with groups that are sympathetic to the cause and principles. Regardless of reliability or the degree of dependence on external powers, they will by all means, exert their influence and interfere in the nationalistic goals and, will subjugate the officials of the movement to their resolve.
Therefore, to protect the transparency of such operations, there should be no strings attached to any seeking of support. Such backing is always risky and there should be no obligations to them, otherwise their help should be rejected.
3. The Relations with the State of Turkey and other Turkish Political Movements:
The Iraqi Turkoman‘s relations with the State of Turkey and various political parties has been the subject of considerable debate among the Turkoman as well as other counterpart groups questioning the nature of these alleged relation. This has lead to cause doubts in the mind of even some of the sects of the Turkoman society, as they started to question these relations. It is necessary to explain to the Turkoman first that any relations with Turkey and political movements within Turkey is not to be concealed or ashamed of.
Obviously, this has not been sufficiently and explicitly clarified to the various sectors of the Iraqi society and which should have been beforehand carried out and without any hesitation. Today, the entire world lives in geographically, ethnically and regionally divided communities these factors have influenced their relationships to some extent. Consequently, sharing cultural, ethnic and educational heritage with Turkey and other Turkic populations is natural and, is deeply rooted within the Turkoman of Iraq. Turkey is endowed and rich in this heritage and would naturally influence our mutual relations and exchanges to a certain extent.
Likewise, the Arabs from various nations share substantial devotion to their common values, heritage, culture, language and vision. The same is true about the Persians, Kurds, Serbs, Russians and the French. Hence the Turkoman should not be different and blamed if they practice the least of their privileges to enrich and quench their thirst for intellectual, cultural and social activities that is abundant in such a big ocean like Turkish societies.
Certainly, the Turkoman constitutes an integral part of the Iraqi society and government. They are obliged to practice their rights to enrich the social and political direction of an Iraqi government that abides by laws and regulations, protects the society and the rights of individuals.
However, the Turkoman would recognize the other components of the Iraqi community and would not be blamed if they continue their intellectual lines along the Turkish society. By all means, they should consider their contribution to enrich Iraq’s ethnicity, culture and the basics of the entire society.It is essential that the Iraqi Turkoman elucidate this issue clearly to their brethren in Turkey and sustain their participation in cultural and social exchanges with due respect to the peculiarities of the Iraqi Turkoman on equal footings with other ethnic groups that inhabit Iraq.
4. A Glance at the Future of Iraq
Along with the majority of other Iraqis, the Turkoman full heartedly support the idea and the principles of a free, democratic, parliamentary, and multi-party system that respects human rights, abides by laws, and treats all the citizens equally, regardless of their race, party, religious or ethnic affiliation. Comprising the third largest ethnic populace of Iraq, it is in the interest of the Turkoman to become proactive in their role in establishing a government that deserves international respect and recognition.
Truly, Iraq is composed of a tightly woven mosaic of multi racial, ethnic and religions society. It is the farsightedness of the Turkoman to earnestly work to enhance the bonds and to strengthen this weave through revitalizing the local administrative governmental agencies which favor the unique particularity of the region and which provides the best services to every individual.
This is considered the foundation for fairness and balance in the districts of their residency. Regardless of the often fundamental demands of the Turkoman, the final decision is left to the consensus of the entire Iraqi society, including all its sectors. If the Iraqis decide on the format of government that they collectively chose, whether autonomous or federal, the Turkoman will support such choices and will have the same rights to continue their peculiarities.
By all means they would not accept any attempt for annexation to any other ethnic group or their role in this process to be is marginalized; this should be clear to all members of the Iraqi community.
It is extremely important to convey, in advance, this message to all of the other ethnic constituents of Iraq and to countries that claim responsibility to influence mapping the political future of Iraq. Obviously all means and methods to broadcast and convey this information should be utilized clearly with participating decision-makers.
5. Getting Organized On The Iraqi Territory
Certainly, the essence and the source of the national struggle for the cause are positioned within the boundaries of Iraq. This has been implanted into the souls of the people of the united Iraq. Therefore all the national movements and the unification of the ranks of the people have to start from inside the country. From this start the Turkoman will have the active role in organizing their ranks and participating in political, social and educational actions within Iraq in a free and democratic Iraqi government that abides by civilized practices and values human rights. Such organizations will definitely actively work towards defending and enhancing the legitimate rights of the Turkoman citizens within the political and cultural organizations.
Obviously, under the current circumstances in Iraq the prevailing injustice and oppressive practices of the government have deprived the Turkoman along with other ethnic nationals of all their due rights. Such tyrannical regime does not tolerate any opposition; therefore, the Iraqi opposition movements were forced to take refuge in exile and practice their activities from outside of the country.
All the intellectual, ethnic and political movements are currently suffering under the current regime’s intellectual suppression that would not tolerate covert or opposition activities. Therefore, it is not expected that any Turkoman activities, lead by popular support from inside of Iraq will be instituted.
This in concert with other inner local forces has no choice other then firmly adhering to the national ideology and revitalizing the solidarity of the people.It is necessary to hold on the ideology through revitalizing tributaries of intellectual activities which flow towards the national goals and which support them with minimal organized actions. From this initiative, the Turkoman in Iraq are attempting to foster actions to defend their presence in local elections and demanding fair and civilized representation without discrimination in regard to their prime national rights which otherwise become dangerous and often precipitates grave consequences.
The majority of the sections of the Iraqi Turkoman population are optimistic and they do realize the current circumstances, consequently, all of their youth sectors are earnestly nurturing intellectual and cultural activities. Meanwhile to thwart gloom, they maintain the momentum of the general public’s spirits high. Responsibilities fall on the shoulder of those organizations outside the country that forecast such rights to motivate people and become vigilant in understanding the facts and doing their utmost to light the candles of hope in the souls of the people that were subjugated to destitution and hardship.
Maintenance of the continuity of the spiritual and cultural ties inside the country is deemed necessary to achieve the needed unity, solidarity, and identity of the people. The Turkoman of Iraq realized these phenomena and did not allow despair to overcome their children’s resolve. As a result of their conviction and devotion to the country, they have never revolted against government institutions.
Moreover, they had the vision to distinguish the difference between the government institutions and the principle of statehood. Furthermore, under no circumstances did they voluntarily abandon their land.Perhaps this was internationally witnessed during the revolt against the regime in 1991 when 25% of the Iraqi Kurds took voluntary refuge in Turkey and Iran.
Whereas, the Turkoman residing in Kirkuk, Erbil and Alton Kupri were subjugated to worse forms of injustice and humiliation and their refuges number did not reach 1% of their population.
This was a clear example for the allegiance of the Turkoman of Iraq to their country and land and was proof that no external power was capable to displace or uproot them from their land as long as they maintained this level of solidarity and unity.
6. The Social and Political Organization outside Iraq.
Various Iraqi opposition groups had to relocate their activities outside the country or to territories that were not under the control of the central government. Thus, the concept of organization in exile has dramatically changed and became vital and essential. For this reason, the importance of organizing the Turkoman’s ranks and heralding their voice to the world and the neighboring countries became obvious. Occasional individuals and groups of the Turkoman that had escaped to the Turkish soil, this is naturally expected because they are bound to their people through historical and cultural ties where they could move freely and be enriched intellectually.
It is wrong to resort to emigration and to neglect the importance of working with and muster the support of intellectual and political movements within and outside the Arab countries. Perhaps it has been a disappointment to underestimate this direction that has not materialized properly by Turkoman organizations.
It is of paramount importance that the Turkoman organizations start to seriously focus on their direction and get involved strongly in social and political organizations that will become fruitful and that these actions will be effective and rewarding. A number of minute organizations sprouted without actual popular support, occasionally represented by the sole organizer, or those that had to imitate political organizations that were set by false illusions of adventurous individuals and often became laughable. Such organizations are dangerous and harmful and could bring negative effects upon the noble goals of the Turkoman’s organized work and could result in the loss of trust of the people.
We are not claiming that the Turkoman are angels and a few individuals have crossed the set ideological and ethical norm lines; those who were looking for fast financial gains have fallen in the same trap along with other individuals from other ethnic groups. Historically such people could not fool everyone all the time; certainly their metal sooner or later will be discovered and they will become outcasts in their communities.
On a positive note, the number of such oddities, whether among the Turkoman or others that have gone astray from the unanimous stands of the Arabs and Kurds are scarce. Fortunately, the Iraqi people had properly planned the establishment of popular social or political organizations outside the boundries of the country. In addition to these organizations, the moral contributions and counseling support of variety of cultural, intellectual, and historical forums and institutions were valuable assets to the cause.
To achieve the smooth flow and the support of the majority in intellectual directions, it is vitally important to focus on a central cause. Regardless of the number of prevailing schemes or opinions of various groups, differences are in essence healthy as it enriches the intellectual engagements provided that the flow is in the same profound and sophisticated cultural direction.
However, it is imperative to create a consensus among idealistic individuals and groups. Utilizing, recruiting and uniting all factions and activities around a central intellectual standard should be implemented. All organizations, committees and clubs that were established or active either in Turkey or other western countries must collectively agree on a central credible statement of understanding.
At one time we have suggested the temporarily re-establishment in Ankara or Istanbul of the “Turkoman Brotherhood Club” that was vehemently coaxed to deviate from its national course in Iraq. Appropriate legal permits must be obtained and they should be charged to organize the ranks of the Turkoman according to the established ideology that is supported by the majority of the Turkoman regardless of their affiliations and partiality.
Such a club under no circumstances will replace any political organization or party that is established in Northern Iraq, Turkey or other countries, but it rather rejuvenates the fervor of 1961 during its launch in Baghdad representing the ambitious expectations of the Turkoman via its scientific, cultural and collective contribution which was vitally important in mapping the future of this glorious nation. Its is understood that such a forum or club would herald collectively for unity and would take the responsibility to propagate the united mission and agree to create firm futuristic political policies rather then being preoccupied with trivial issues or crises.
This will become a fertile land for propagating and sustaining a correct and credible resource for representation of the Iraqi Turkoman citizens. The currently existing political or cultural organizations and establishments could become affiliated with this forum with their various political or cultural committees or associations and organizations that advocate human rights for all the Iraqis and the Turkoman.
Furthermore, it fosters national and international relations in a way that resembles a rose with all its colorful petals elegantly arranged and united to enrich the political and the cultural activities of the Turkoman community at large. All political and intellectual organizations are to work together and herald with one voice. Furthermore, controversy or spontaneous actions that could hurt the Turkoman or other's position should by all means be avoided.
There should be no harm in having numerous organizations or institutions as long as they abide by the general consensus and united policies.
In conclusion, for this critical issue in formulating political policy it is highly recommended that solidarity and mutual vision be carefully thought about in all these issues that form the foundation of a bright future and destiny. Controversy and contradicting thoughts that originate from ignorance or sentimental prejudices should be curtailed, such actions would only negatively reflect on the sought image of the Turkoman.
The "Turkoman Brotherhood Club" will posses credibility and shall be resourceful and will have the backing of the majority of local and national Turkoman organizations. It has the potential to become in the near future the Turkoman Brotherhood Party through its unified vision. It is worth mentioning that the formation of such an organization would not be acceptable if it only adds one more to the existing ones. In contrast, if it becomes a unifying and sole party collectively supported by the people, then the Turkoman will become the foremost benefactors and would definitely provide credibility, clarity and comfort to the decision makers for other sectors of Iraqi society.
8 May 2007
Copyright © 2005 Journal of Turkish Weekly http://www.turkishweekly.net/news.php?id=44912