vendredi 7 mars 2008

Land operation eased Iraqi Turkmens' concerns, says ITC

Friday, March 7, 2008

As the fallout from Turkey’s latest ground operation in northern Iraq stirred debate in Ankara between an unsatisfied opposition and the military, Iraqi Turkmens say the operation removed a feeling of abandonment among Iraq’s third-largest minority

Ankara-Turkish Daily News

Turkey's eight-day ground operation into northern Iraq to oust outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) terrorists from their hideouts alleviated Iraqi Turkmens' worries about their future, a representative of the Iraqi Turkmen Front (ITF) said at a conference in Hacettepe University yesterday.

“Turkey's ground operation in northern Iraq revived Turkmens' confidence in Turkey. We felt that we were not alone,” Sadun Köprülü, Turkey representative of the Iraqi Turkmen Front (ITC) said.

Köprülü stressed that while Arabs held power during the Saddam regime, the Kurds replaced them after the U.S. occupation in Iraq. “But the policies on the Turkmens, Iraq's third-largest ethnic group, have not changed and dirty tricks are still played in different ways including changing the demographic structure of Turkmen regions,” said Köprülü.

Köprülü emphasized Turkmens' unconditional faith in Turkey. However Köprülü was not completely satisfied with Ankara's attitude toward the region. “Turkey's policy on Iraq was better before 2003. I wish a small piece of the importance attached to Kurdish people had been attached to Iraqi Turkmens too,” said Köprülü.

He underlined that despite Turkey's refusal to cooperate with the United States at the beginning of the war in Iraq, Ankara's recent military operation in Iraq created “an atmosphere of hope” among Iraq's Turkmen population.

Köprülü also mentioned the collapse of the imaginary “Kurdistan” project and said, “in my opinion, this cross-border operation of the Turkish military has also terminated the imaginary Kurdistan state.”

Köprülü said even a tiny sign of support coming from Turkey encourages Iraqi Turkmens. “Turkey has a special place in the hearts of Turkmen people and we know that there are groups of Turkish people who support us.” He ended his speech by stressing that they defend Iraq's territorial integrity and they want to live in peace with different ethnic groups.

Dogan Daily News Inc.

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