vendredi 3 août 2007

ITF Representative in Europe denounces and condemns the targeted attacks on the Turkmens in Iraq

Hassan Aydinli, ITF Europe Representative


The Iraqi Turkmen Front Representative in Europe denounces and condemns the daily attacks and the targeted killings of the innocent, unarmed and unprotected Turkmens in Iraq

On Saturday July 28th 2007 the office of the Iraqi Turkmen Front ‘ITF’ in the Turkmen town of YENGICE has been attacked by ‘unidentified gunmen’ and once again innocent Iraqi Turkmens have been targeted, attacked, injured and killed for no reason other than they are Turkmens.

The attacks on the Turkmen community of Iraq have dramatically increased lately and are getting more and more dramatic and deadly since the invasion and the occupation of Iraq by the US and the UK in March 2003 as the invasion and occupation forces have destroyed the Iraqi State, destabilised the country, brought chaos, destruction, terror all over Iraq and total insecurity to the Turkmen region of the country.

During the last attack on the Turkmens, the ITF Representative in YENGICE, Mr Adnan Rifaat ZILAOU, has been severely injured, his two sons Arkan ZILAOU and Vucdan ZILAOU together with five other ITF members Messrs. Hicran Hameed ASKER, Burhan Hameed ASKER, Akeel Hameed ASKER, Haşım Hasan ASKER and Fayaad ABDELKHALIK have been killed.

Besides Mr Adnan Rifaat ZILAOU, the ITF Representative in YENGICE, five other Turkmens have been wounded and they are still hospitalised.

The targeted attack on Turkmens in YENGICE took place only two weeks after another terrible attack on the Turkmens in KERKUK which killed more than 100 and wounded over 250 innocent civilians.

These two criminal attacks followed a third one which took place a week earlier - on 7th July 2007 in AMIRLI, a Turkmen town situated 80 km south of KERKUK - which caused the death of over 140 innocent Turkmens and gravely injured more than 300 of them, destroying their homes, shops and vehicles.

The attack on the Turkmens in AMIRLI was the deadliest attack in the Turkmens’ history since the creation of the Iraqi State in 1921; it was also the single deadliest attacks on Iraqi civilians since the Anglo-American occupation of Iraq in March 2003.

It is to be noted that the attacks on the Turkmens are facilitated by the fact that the Turkmens are the only community of Iraq which is not allowed to have a militia to protect itself and that the Turkmens are forbidden to possess any personal weapons to protect themselves despite the instability and the insecurity which is prevailing in Iraq since March 2003!

The new Iraqi government which was brought in by the occupation powers, known as the ‘Green Zone Government’, is made of a coalition where the Kurdish parties have huge influence and play a central role in the government’s policy and decision making, disproportionate with the true Kurdish representation in Iraq. This government continues to disregard the Turkmens’ needs for self-defence, protection and security in the Turkmen region of Iraq ‘Türkmeneli’ as it remains deaf to the Turkmens’ repeated demands to be recognized as the third main community of Iraq with constitutional rights equal to those recognised to the Arabs and the Kurds of Iraq.

That is why the Turkmen community is vulnerable as it is unarmed, defenceless and unprotected by the Iraqi government and by the occupation powers.

As the Kurdish parties KDP and PUK collaborated with the American forces during the invasion of the north of Iraq the Kurds became the ‘privileged allies’ of the occupation powers which allowed them to occupy the Turkmen towns and cities in the north of Iraq, starting by the Turkmens’ capital city KERKUK which the Kurds want to annex to their autonomous region in the north east of Iraq in order to control its oil wealth.

The Kurds’ collaboration with the occupation powers has also provided them the opportunity to impose their views and advance their political agenda. That is how they managed to include Article 140 in the new Iraqi constitution which calls for a referendum before the end of 2007 to determine the future status of KERKUK.

As the Turkmens are rightfully opposed to the annexation of their historical city KERKUK to the Kurdish autonomous region and as they are against the holding of the referendum called for by Article 140 they are put under huge political pressure by the Kurdish political parties and their militia who are intensifying their threats and attacks on all those who oppose their plans and policies in Iraq, mainly on the Turkmens.

The attacks on the Turkmen cities of TELL AFER, AMIRLI, TUZ KHUMATO, KERKUK, DAQUK, TAZA, YENGICE…have all one thing in common: they are targeting the Turkmens in order to intimidate them and reduce their resistance to Kurdish policies and hegemony in the north of Iraq.

Since the Iraqi government is not willing or is unable to provide adequate security and protection to the Turkmen people in Iraq and as it is not providing the means for the Turkmens to create their own militia to protect themselves, we are calling on the international community and particularly on Iraq’s neighbours, the European Union and the United Nations to put pressure on the Iraqi government to change its policies of neglect concerning the Turkmen community in Iraq and take into consideration without any further delay the needs of the Turkmens for safety and security in their region and give them the means to defend themselves in order to avoid more targeted attacks and killings against them.

If the Iraqi government continues to ignore the Turkmens’ plight and does not fulfil its obligations to the Turkmen community the international community must intervene to fill the vacuum left by the Iraqi government and come to the rescue of the vulnerable and unprotected Turkmens of Iraq.

This is a wake-up call to the Iraqi authorities and an appeal to the international community to stop the discriminatory policies of the Iraqi government against the Turkmens and stop the targeted killings of the Turkmens in Iraq.

ITF Europe Representative
Brussels, 30th July 2007

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