We have Turkey behind us!
05 June 2007
ITF President Dr. Sadettin Ergeç:
WE HAVE TURKEY BEHIND US!
Yavuz Selim DEMİRAĞ
Iraq Turkmen Front (ITF) Leader Sadettin Ergeç evaluating the recent events answered the threats. Ergeç emphasized that the Kirkuk referendum must be cancelled and requested that for Iraq's solidarity a dependable consensus be carried out under the supervision of UN and Turkey.
According to recent information there are speculations that the referendum might be postponed until 2008, however we are aware that Iraq Turkmen want the referendum to be postponed. Can you provide us with the latest developments?
As you are aware the process under way in Kirkuk is far from normalization, it is downright abnormalization. We want the normalization process to continue in a proper way under the supervision of neutral states, the United Nations, we do not propose an interruption. The documents belonging to us in Kirkuk have been plundered twice, once in 1991, the second a much more serious incident in 2003 when the Peshmerge invaded the city. That is why we claim that any numbers quoted are false. Even if false numbers added up to a correct total, mistakes will incrue. We reject these mistakes which equals rejection of the referendum.
You stated that the documents were plundered in 1991 and 2003. However we are aware that an original copy of these documents is in Turkey and one in Great Britain. Are efforts being carried out in order to have a new consensus in line with re-emerging these documents with the consensus carried out in 1957?
First of all the consensus must be carried out in the whole of Iraq. There are no population statistics in Iraq. In order to carry out proper elections and get judicial results, a consensus must be carried out first. Even in 2004 we insisted on this. However, unfortunately the Planning Ministry replied that at present is was not feasible. Our reply to that was that if a consensus was not feasible, then neither were elections because elections required much more security provisions than did a consensus, however they insisted on their view.
Finally after the elections were over and the election results were inspected it was observed that the number of votes were more than the overall population number. Once upon a time the population number were inflated in order to obtain food stamps from the UN. A province like Kirkuk was awarded with 9 parliament memberships. The 9 members of parliament were exposed as a result of the combats, moving Kurds into the city, to be revealed as a result of the election coffers. The errors reflected on the Parliament which is the basis of the errors in Parliament. On the other hand this is the way the Constitutional Law was written.
The first party to reject the Constitutional Law written in Iraq was the Iraq Turkmen Front which also said that the Constitutional Law deserved criticism.
Although the word Turkmen is mentioned five times in the constitutional law, we say that one must look into its contents. If a stone is made of gold but contains poison, it has no worth. That is our approach to the constitutional law.
The steps take the process towards abnormalization. For that reason we reject any and all results of it. We declared that we would not participate. If a proper demographic structure is not put forward during the normalization process we will not participate in the consensus either.
The true structure of the city is Turkmen in all its features. No matter what is done true history can never be erased. Anyone who comes to Kirkuk and tastes its bread, visits its hamam, views the structures of homes is immediately aware of the Turkmen character of the city. This is a Turkmen city and must represent the Turkmen.
Article 141 frightens us as it might erase and divide the Turkmen geography.
Iraq consists of 18 provinces. 14 provinces are Arab, the Turkmen should at least have one province. I believe this province should be Kirkuk. In other words the crew may be an assembly of various nationalities but the ship's captain must be Turkmen.
The referendum set forth today and postponement of the normalization process, on the other hand 200 million dollar budget was set aside for the normalization. Since this budget is from the 2008 budget the postponement has become contemporary. I am not in favor of this postponement. I say do away with the timing. Normalization must proceed, the elections concern all Iraq. A referendum is unnecessary.
In 2003 when USA invaded Iraq they said they would bring democracy and human rights to the country, Thousands of people were killed and human rights were violated in Iraq. You come from Iraq and you are a deputy in the Iraqi Parliament. How do you evaluate this situation?
Iraq Turkmen had an expectation regarding human rights, however these expectations have yet to realize. Today we ask, is the price of human rights so many lives, does it mean brother fighting against brother? We do not recognize such a democracy. So the democracy we get is like this, the democracy they apply for themselves is different. They never delivered what they promised.
They said there was no democracy, they did not apply democracy, they spoke of mass destruction weapons, that did not fit either. The US or conflict forces arriving in 2003 did not expect to find such resistance in 2007. However that is the reality of today because there are serious errors in implementation These errors started on day one and have continued ever since.
What are the Turkmen losses in Iraq since the occupation?
It is difficult to give a clear number. This number constantly varies. Unspecified perpetrators are an issue, others are killed for judicial reasons. It must be clear that these killings are not random. Definitely there is a political or operational motive. There is a forced emigration issue to change the future referendum. Our people are still under threat. Although we are also interested in the events occurring in the whole of Iraq, it is evident that the events of Kirkuk hold a different dimension. Kirkuk has a future. There are those who wish to shape the future path of Kirkuk. Turkmen are more liable to be kidnapped and being under constraint. Turkmen businessmen are more likely to be put under constraint here. A major part of the explosions taking place in Kirkuk happen in Turkmen neighborhoods.
These events force our people to emigrate. Many of our people with financial means have come and settled in Turkey. Likewise our people have settled in Syria. However, in these critical times we need our people in Kirkuk. Some forces are determined to crush the power of the Turkmen community in Kirkuk.
People have been arrested and placed in detention without questioning or even appearing in court, Are there any judicial works or developments in this area?
We speak out in the Iraq Parliament about each and every error. Law can be a valid subject in a stable country which is respectful of the law. In my opinion it would be useless to speak of the law in a place where the abovementioned do not exist. In other words we have an equation. You are obliged to resist in all ways in order not to be led by someone who wants to lead you. That requires strength. Yet the Iraq Turkmen have never been armed, they have always believed in democracy. On the other hand, our deep belief in the Almighty has prevented us from straying into lawlessness. However, today our faith has put forth our real strength. So far we have endeavoured to do the right thing and will continue to so.
However, those wishing for violence in Iraq have started to realize where it is taking Iraq. The unity of Iraq concept which we have claimed since the beginning is now in the agenda of all political structurings.
The Arabs who previously oppressed Turkmen have begun to get closer to them after being on the receiving end of the same. What is the attitude of Arabs toward the Turkmen recently? What are your observations?
Like I stated previously, those who carried a different tune in the beginning have now come to our point of view. The Turkmen have put forth their sincerity and convinced everybody in Iraq. We have defended the unity of Iraq since the beginning of the occupation. A unified Turkmeneli is a reality. The Turkmeneli territory will be undivided. If Iraq is divided into federal regions then it will be difficult to speak of a Turkmeneli territory. There are great dangers for us.
We say special status for Kirkuk, brotherhood, but my view is this: There are Kurds as well as Arabs in Baghdad, also Turkmen, it is a city of brotherhood, but it is special because it is an Arab city. There are Turkmen, Arabs, Kurds in Süleymaniye, it is a city of brotherhood, and special because of its Kurdish features. Kirkuk is also a city of brotherhood but with Turkmen features. At this point I say if you bring me a document I will reciprocate with ten for each of them. I had Telafer, Tuzhurmatu, and regions in Diale. Because the people of Iraq know how sincere we are they support us and demonstrate side by side with us. Many have realized after this process that they will be redeemed after Kirkuk is transferred to its owners.
When we look at Turkmen politics we see that during recent years Turkmen Front has taken the initiative. We also observe that they are the only spokesman for Iraqi Turkmen. How did you succeed in uniting the divided Turkmen political structure?
This success is of course something singularly achieved, it has been done through team work. Our friends and personnel carry on our duties under the roof entrusted to us by our great martyr Necdet Koçak. Even in the most dangerous if I need to sign some document first I look at his picture and then sign. Football is played on the football field, it cannot be done by remote. The nation must move from within. If a nation is united it will succeed. Our nation is united and represented by the Iraq Turkmen Front. The faith of our people in us is clearly set forth when they come to us with fear of reprisal in Kirkuk.
How did the Ankara meeting reflect on Kirkuk Turkmen?
Although we tell our nation that we feel the breath of Anatolia behind us it was important for us that they could visualize this. Seeing this also boosted their morale greatly. They started saying if you threaten me I have Turkey on my side, which we are saying in the Parliament. It gave us strength. Everyone should know. So far Turkmen have kept going by hope and expectations. Seeing these expectations realized raised their morale in a major way. I believe the second meeting will be much better than the first one.