Being the local backbone of the above mentioned empires and states in Iraq, the Turkmens formed the bulk of the army and the administrative elite throughout the Middle East. Especially in Iraq, there are numerous monuments universities, mosques, cities, bridges and other achievements from that long era. Throughout their history the Turkmens defended Iraq and Syria from foreign invaders:
1- They drove out the Crusaders in the 11th century after fighting for 70 years under the command of Imadeddin Zengi the Atabeg of Musul and Salahaddin Eyyubi who was brought up by the Zengi family.
2- They defended Baghdad against the Mongol invaders in 1258 especially the heroic efforts of commander “Aytoghdu” and his Turkish battalion. Eventually, all Mongols were assimilated and blended with other Turkish tribes.
3- They defended Iraq against the Iranians and prevented them from occupying Iraq through many wars that started in 1508 and ended in 1638.
4- They defended Iraq against the Wahhabi Bedouins who attacked the Shiite holy sites in Karbala, Kufa and Najaf in the 18.th century and drove them out of the country.
The most important issue is that during this long period, the Turkmens, being part of or related to the rulers, never harmed the local peoples, there were no massacres, no ethnic cleansing, and no force to change other people’s languages or religions. On the contrary they blended with the locals, and in some cases even assimilated. Today we know that almost half of the Bayat tribe has been arabized.
The Politics of Oil :
With the beginning of the 20.th century, oil was becoming the prime source of energy. The British, with the help of their intelligence network and “archeological” explorations, knew that Kerkuk area in the Musul province had large deposits of oil. As a fact, the eternal fire of Baba Gurgur was burning for thousands of years, oil and tar was being used by the local people since the beginning of history. In order to stay as global super power it was necessary for Britain to possess those oilfields. Therefore, the British laid plans to end the Ottoman Empire years before the First World War. As a first step Kuwait was occupied in 1899, to serve as a foothold to invade Iraq when the time was right.
In the meantime the British oil companies were attempting to buy those oil rich lands privately. Sultan Abdulhamid II., through his powerful intelligence agency, “The Special Organization” or “Teshkilat-i Makhsusa”, knew about the British intentions in the oil fields of Musul. So, he purchased those lands as crown properties to protect them from being sold to foreign companies, then he ordered the establishment of the Turkish Petroleum Company, a Turkish-German joint venture and gave it exclusive rights to explore oil in those lands. He also connected Musul to Anatolia through the Toros Railway.
The First World War and the British Tactics:
The Ottoman Empire recognizing the power of the British Empire, tried to ally itself with Britain, and as a sign of good will, they ordered for the building of two of the most advanced and expensive war ships, at that time, by the British “Vickers” company and paid for them in advance. But the British, as previously planned, did every thing possible to intimidate the Turks and push them into the opposite German camp. Therefore, it allied itself with Russia, the eternal enemy of the Turks. And to further provoke them, Britain confiscated both war ships, “Sultan Osman” and “Reshadiye” which were ready to go to Turkey.
The Germans immediately compensated the Turks with two legendary German warships “Breslau” and “Goeben” which sailed to Istanbul then continued to the Black sea under a Turkish flag to bombard the Russian port city of Odessa, pulling the Ottoman Empire into the First World War unwillingly and unprepared.
Britain declared war on Turkey on Nov.5, 1914 and from their bases in Kuwait, they launched an attack and landed in Basra on Nov 7.
The Ottoman army, compared to the British army, was ill equipped, but despite that,
They managed to defeat the British army at the battle of Kut-al-Amara on April 26.th 1915, and took General Townsend, prisoner of war.
In order to break the Turkish resistance, the British intelligence service based in Cairo, decided to use Sharif Hussein, the Arab governor of Makka and promised him with help to be the King of all Ottoman Arabia, stretching from Syria and Iraq in the north to Yemen and Oman in the South. Lured by the dream of becoming a Caliph and a king of Arabia, he declared war on the Ottoman Empire on June 5, 1915 starting the Arabian revolution. The British troops landed at the port of Jeddah to help Hussein, and to give the impression of occupying the holy lands of Islam. This critical action forced the Ottomans to divert large numbers of troops to Hejaz, weakening the Iraqi and Syrian fronts. The British sent fresh troops to Iraq and Egypt pushing the Turks to the north.
They occupied Baghdad on 11 March 1917 and managed to sweep through, all the way up to Kerkuk which fell on March 24, 1918. The Ottoman army fought back and recaptured Kerkuk on May 24th 1918, pushing the British to the Himrin Mountains which was the border of the Musul province. But the British changed tactics and prepared to attack Musul from the west bank of the Tigris River, therefore, the Ottoman army withdrew from Kerkuk on October 26.th 1918, to strengthen their forces in Qayyara, at the border of the Musul province. Armistice and cease-fire was declared on October 30th , 1918. The First World War had officially ended with rival troops stationed at the southern border of the Musul province.
The war ended and the British still couldn’t achieve the main reason of their mission which was the possession of the oil rich areas of the Musul province, so, ignoring and violating the cease-fire agreement and using article-7 of the armistice regulations as a pretext to occupy any area where there is a local disturbance, they moved towards Musul. In fact, there weren’t any disturbances in Musul except for a provocation by few Armenians who called the British for help, which was a prepared scenario by the British agents to give the occupiers a reason to use this clause. The British General William Marshall, gave an ultimatum to General Ali Ihsan Pasha on November 7.th 1918 to evacuate Musul. To avoid further bloodshed and believing that Musul legally belongs to Turkey, the Turkish army started to withdraw on Nov. 8.th and by Nov.11.th the British troops entered Musul, ending 863 years of Turkish rule in Iraq.
The British Era
The people of Iraq, never accepted the British occupation, they preferred to rejoin Turkey as the successor of the Ottomans for religious reasons. Sheik Mahmud Hafid the head of the Soran Kurdish tribes in Suleymaniye and the sheiks of the Behdinan Kurds in Imadiye rose up against the British authorities. Suleymaniye was liberated on May 22.nd 1920, but the British response was very harsh. Emadia and Suleymaniye were bombed heavily from the air. By June 17.th 1920 Suleymaniye had fallen and sheik Mahmud was captured and sent to exile in India.
In June 1920, the Turkmen of Telafer revolted against the British, this revolution (Qach-qach revolution) spread like a wild fire to the rest of Iraq. By the end of 1920, the British suppressed the uprising and killed over 10.000 people, also, it cost them too many soldiers and officers and drained the British budget to the limit.
Britain decided to move behind the scene and create a puppet Iraqi regime controlled by them, so they brought Faisal, who was thrown out of Syria by the French, and declared him as the king of Iraq.
Turkey persists on regaining Musul:
The newly formed Turkish National Assembly declared Musul within the “National Pact” which defined the minimum limits of the “New Turkey”, and persisted on re-taking it back even if it cost another war. The Mesopotamian Army was mobilized to Mardin.
The Ozdemir Mission:
The Turkmen chiefs Nazim and Kerim Fettah begs as well as the heads of the Kurdish tribes asked Mustafa Kemal Pasha to help them organize the resistance against the British occupation.
In February 1922 Major Shefik Ozdemir was assigned by Mustafa Kemal Pasha to go to Northern Iraq to help the locals organize the resistance.
A military contingent headed by Major Shefik Ozdemir arrived in Rawanduz on June 22.nd 1922. Supported by the local Turkmen chiefs Karim Fattah Beg and Nazim Beg as well as the local Kurdish tribes, they started a guerrilla war and achieved a major victory in the battle of Derbent on August 31, 1922 (This coincides with the major victory of the Turkish army at the battle of Inonu against the Greek army in Sakarya, northwest Turkey) on September 7.th, Marshall Fevzi Chakmak, the chief of staff of the Turkish Army, cabled the commanders of the Mesopotamian Army, to get ready to take Musul back by force. On September 18.th 1922, the Ozdemir mission entered Shaklawa, east of Erbil. Towards the end of October they were able to infiltrate deep inside Iraq while the Turkish Mesopotamian army was waiting across the border, in Mardin and Cizre, ready to attack.
Turkey switches to diplomacy - The Lausanne Conference :
The victorious Turkish army was marching to regain Istanbul and the straights which were under the allied occupation. The Italians and the French were in no mood to fight the Turks, the British were left alone in the field facing the Turkish army. Under these conditions they signed up the armistice of Mudania on October 11, 1922 in which they gave back Istanbul, the straights and Eastern Thrace.
Peace conference convened in Lausanne, Switzerland on Nov. 20, 1922. Turkish claims on Musul and British counter claims were at odds. The British authorities declared on December 8.th 1922, that they will never give up Musul even if that meant another war.
The Turkish general staff ordered the army to be on alert.
Fierce arguments and disagreements between the Turks and the British regarding the Musul issue, resulted in excluding it from the agenda of the conference, and it was left to be dealt with in between the two governments.
Loosing The Kurdish Support :
Up till now, the Kurdish tribes in northern Iraq were supporting Turkey for religious reasons. But later, some changes in the nature of the Turkish state had resulted in negative effects on the Kurdish tribes.
In November, 1, 1922, the Turkish parliament terminated the Ottoman Sultanate and stripped the Sultan of his title and expelled him from Turkey. along with the rest of the members of the Ottoman dynasty, stripping them from the Turkish citizenship.
The termination of the Ottoman empire was used extensively by British agents to put a rift between the Kurdish tribes and Turkey. Traditionally the Kurds were loyal to the Ottoman Empire, whereas The British were agitating the Kurds against Turkey. Naturally, this situation affected the Ozdemir mission, and the Kurdish support was lost to the other side.
The Termination of the Ozdemir Mission :
On April 8.th 1923, the British, with the support of some Kurdish tribes headed by Seyyid Taha, attacked the Ozdemir forces, stationed in Rawanduz, from two directions, they cut his supply route from Hakkari, and without any support from the awaiting Turkish army in Cizre-Mardin, he had no choice but to abandon his positions and entered Iran on April 23, 1923, reaching Van, Turkey, on May 10, 1923, thus ending a mission that had a great chance of success.
The Assyrian Rebellion:
While the diplomatic efforts were going on, Britain was using the principle of “the best defense is offence” to further discourage the Turks from any effective action to regain Musul. New British intelligence agitations led the Assyrians, who were allied with Britain, to commit a massacre in Kerkuk on May 4.th 1924 against the Turkmen who were naturally allied with Turkey, hundreds of civilians were killed.
Also in Turkey, the Assyrians rebelled in Hakkari on August 7.th 1924 in order to keep the Mesopotamian Army busy.
This incident in Hakkari was used by Lord Curzon during the peace conference to lay claim on Hakkari as part of the Musul province and as a sign that the local people rejected the Turkish rule.
The Kurdish Rebellion:
The British agitation among the Kurds in south eastern Turkey to react to the removal of the Caliphate and the Islamic law was successful. Sheik Said started his rebellion against the Turkish state on February 2.nd, 1925. This campaign diverted the attention of the Turkish government away from Musul, and the Mesopotamian army was used to suppress this unexpected rebellion.
Britain, of course, used this issue also against the Turks to convince the League of Nations that Turkey has no right to claim Musul where half of the population is Kurdish, while the Kurds inside Turkey were unhappy for being under Turkish control.
The end of the Musul Problem:
Turkey was exhausted with wars since 1912. Persistence on regaining Musul meant a new war with Britain which was the greatest super power at that time. Turkish economy was in ruins, therefore, Turkey wasn’t able to continue this campaign anymore.
Turkey reluctantly, signed the Ankara agreement on June 5.th 1926, Leaving Musul to Iraq, recognizing Iraq as a state and defining its borders.
Unlike similar agreements with Greece for Western Thracian Turks, with France for Iskenderun and with Russia for Nahchevan, the British did not allow Turkey to be a guarantor for the Turkmens in Iraq. They promised that all minority rights will be respected by the Iraqi state as it was mentioned in their constitution of 1925 which declared that Iraq's official languages are: Arabic, Turkish and Kurdish. Every citizen of Iraq is entitled to use his/her language in education and courts and administration where they constitute a majority.
To further appease Turkey, the British offered half a Million Sterling Pounds annually for 25 years for the lost (upcoming) oil revenues.
Since that date, Turkey officially never mentioned Musul. The Turkmens were left on their own. It was agreed that within one year from the date of signing the border agreement, people of the region were free to move to Turkey. The Turkmens, preferred to stay in their lands.
THE IRAQI STATE AND THE TURKMENS:
The Monarchy Era:
In 1921 referendum, the Turkmens voted against Faisal as the king of Iraq. This action alienated the monarchy against the Turkmens. The British authorities and the successive Iraqi governments always kept the Turkmens away from administration and treated them as remnants of the Turkish Empire, never wanted to use their expertise in the civil administration nor in the military, never gave them any high governmental posts except for very few instances.
Iraq applied to the League of Nations in 1932, and declared its determination to respect all minority rights. After being admitted, their policy changed in 1933 and Arabism became dominant. Turkish schools were down sized, Turkmens who were suspected of Turkism were exiled. Arab tribes such Obeidies and Hadidies were settled west of Kerkuk in the thirties and Forties.
Barzani’s Kurdish uprising started in 1949, the Iraqi army suppressed the rebellion and destroyed hundreds of Kurdish villages, moving the villagers to the major northern cities of Kerkuk, Erbil and Musul, to keep them under government control.
The Republican Era:
After the removal of monarchy in 1958, Kurds were favored and included in the constitution. Mulla Mustafa Barzani was invited frm his exile in Russia back to Iraq. He demanded the establishment of Kurdistan including Kerkuk and all Turkmen lands.
This demand alienated the Turkmens, ending good neighborly relations with the Kurds that lasted for over a millennium.
Kurdish and Communist elements committed the Kerkuk massacre on July 14th 1959, intending to ethnically cleanse the Turkmens from Kerkuk. Hundreds of Turkmens were tortured, viciously killed and mutilated.
Turkey issued a warning to Iraq and mobilized the army from Diyarbakir to the Iraqi border. In the meantime, the Soviet army was mobilized in Georgia and Armenia against any Turkish moves into Iraq.
On the third day of the Kerkuk massacre, fearing the start of a regional war. General Abdulkarim Qasim sent an army from Baghdad to Kerkuk and stopped the massacre.
General Qasim tried to appease the Turkmens by arresting the criminals who committed the massacre, allowed Turkmen broadcasting from radio Baghdad, and allowed the establishment of the Turkmen Brotherhood Club in Baghdad. For the first time in the Iraqi history he declared that the “Million Turkmens”(out of seven million Iraqis) were part of the Iraqi nation.
In the meantime, Qasim declared war on Barzani for demanding separation of Kurdistan from Iraq. Hundreds of Kurdish villages were destroyed, the villagers were transferred to the major northern cities of Kerkuk, Erbil and Musul. The district of Iskan in eastern Kerkuk was built by general Qasim for the new Kurdish settlers.
The Baath Era:
The Baath party took over in 1968 and inherited the Kurdish problem, in order to curb Kurdish demands on Kerkuk, they gave cultural rights to the Turkmens on January 24, 1970. Which included education in the Turkish language, issuing Turkish periodicals, forming cultural associations and the establishment of Kerkuk television. They also allowed the opening of a Turkish Cultural Mission in Kerkuk.
The Kurdish Autonomous region including the three northern provinces of Duhok, Erbil and Sulaimanieh was granted on March 11, 1970, to the Kurds by the Baath government. But the Kurds insisted on the inclusion of Kerkuk province, parts of Musul and Diyala provinces into their Autonomous region. They demanded a plebiscite all across the traditional Turkmen lands from Musul to Mendeli.
Tens of thousands of Kurds were settled by the KDP in Kerkuk and other Turkmen cities such as Altun Kopru, Tuz Khurmatu. The District of Azadi in eastern Kerkuk was established at that time.
Turkmens demanded political rights to establish a Turkmen political party, this was flatly rejected by the Baath Party. Disagreements between the Turkmens and the Baath Party began to surface on the issue of the Turkmen alphabet. The Baath party insisted on the use of the Arabic alphabet, whereas the Turkmens demanded the Latin alphabet which was used in Turkey. Within 2 years, Turkish schools were suspended by the Baath Party.
On October 11, 1972 and for the first time in Iraq’s history, the Turkmens started a general strike in all Turkmen areas. This action pushed the Baath Party to respond harshly. Suspecting an organized resistance, arrests, torture and killings became the regular practice of the Baath Party against the Turkmens.
Kerkuk province name was changed to Al-Tameem (Nationalization) in 1976. The area of Kerkuk province was down sized. The eastern part of Chemchemal and Qadir Kerem were given to Suleymaniye province, the central part of Tuz Khurmatu was given to Salahaddin (Tikrit) Province and the southern part of Kifri and Qara Teppe were given to Diyalah province. The Turkish Cultural Mission in Kerkuk was closed down.
The arrest and execution of the top four leaders in Baghdad on January 16, 1980, was the beginning of a total crack down on the Turkmens. The arabization of Kerkuk started on a wide scale in the Eighties. Turkmen language was banned in public and even in telephone conversations, selling properties to any Turkmen was forbidden. Hundreds of thousands of Arabs were brought from central and southern Iraq and settled in newly constructed districts around Kerkuk. In the meantime thousands of Turkmens were transferred to the southern provinces of Iraq.
Turkmens were not allowed to declare their nationality during the general census they were forced to declare themselves either Arabs or Kurds.
During the Iranian and Gulf War, the Turkmens were sent to the front lines to be eliminated. The mainly Shiite Turkmen district of Tisin in Kerkuk and the towns of Beshir, Leylan and Turkalan, south of Kerkuk, were razed to the ground under the pretext of treason and aiding the Iranians. During the Kurdish uprising of 1991, the Iraqi army massacred hundreds of Turkmen in Altun Kopru.
The Safe Haven Period:
After the establishment of the “Safe Haven Area” by the allies in northern Iraq, only %10 of the Turkmens in Erbil and Kifri were fortunate to be included in this zone.
The Turkmens enjoyed the freedom and formed their first political party, the Iraqi National Turkmen Party (INTP), which participated along with other Iraqi opposition parties to establish a democratic model for Iraq.
The Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) although not admitting to complete Turkmen rights especially in Kerkuk, was generally in good relations with the Turkmens. Other Iraqi opposition parties while giving in to the Kurdish demands, they remained conservative towards Turkmen rights.
On April 24, 1995, The Iraqi Turkmen Front (ITF)was established in Erbil from six organizations:
1- Iraqi Turkmen National Party (INTP)
2- Turkmeneli Party (TP)
3- Independents Movement
4- Turkmeneli Cooperation and Cultural Foundation
5- Iraqi Turks Cultural and Solidarity Association
6- Turkmen Brotherhood Center
The emblem of the ITF is a white crescent on a sky blue background with six stars symbolizing the six states established by the Turkmen in Iraq.
Turkmen political, social and cultural institutions were established to serve the 250.000 Turkmens of Erbil as well as the Turkmens of Kifri.
The rivalry between KDP and PUK escalated to full scale war, which led to the invitation of the Iraqi army by Massoud Barzani to defeat PUK and establish KDP control in Erbil.
The Iraqi army remained three days in Erbil, destroying the Turkmen Front buildings, executing 17 top Turkmen leaders and taking 39 others to Baghdad.
Relations with the KDP in Erbil began to deteriorate after the refusal of ITF to submit to KDP demands which were:
- Recognizing the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) as the legitimate government of Kurdistan which regards Turkmens as a minority. The ITF objection was based on the absence of a fair elections and the existence of two rival regional governments, one in Erbil and the other one in Suleymaniye.
- Obligation of having a permission to form a political party from KDP. The ITF objection was based on the reality that ITF is a political entity same as KDP. No party needs permission from another one to operate.
- Disbanding of the Turkmen militia. ITF refused this demand, because it didn’t trust the KDP in providing protection for ITF personnel and installations as happened in 1996, 1998 and 2000. This militia was necessary to protect ITF personnel and installations. Also, other political parties continued carrying their weapons, such as the Islamic Kurdish parties.
- Kurdish parties claimed that ITF was connected to Turkey:
Turkey is the only country in the world that supports the Turkmen cause, it is natural that Turkey supports, ITF. In fact, Turkey supported both KDP and PUK since 1991, and allowed them to enjoy their autonomy. Now they have established 5 puppet Turkmen parties to counter ITF influence and they are showing them as the legitimate Turkmen political organizations.
The main issue is the way KDP looks at the Turkmens as a small minority. They declared the Turkmen population of Erbil as 10.000 instead of 250.000. They exiled Turkmen teachers to Kurdish areas, and brought Kurdish teachers to Turkmen schools, reduced Turkish classes to one a day and imposed Kurdish on Turkmen students.
Daily Harassments on ITF personnel in the streets continued.
TURKMENELI UNDER KURDISH OCCUPATION:
The Turkish parliament refused on March 01, 2003, to allow the US troops to use Turkish soil for the invasion of Iraq. However, the Turkish government allowed US to use the Turkish air space and land for logistical supplies.
This issue angered the US administration. The invasion of Iraq started n March 19th 2003, on April 10th, 2003, U.S. Ignored Turkish Red Lines against Kurds entering Kerkuk and Musul and allowed PUK to occupy Kerkuk and the rest of the Turkmen cities, also allowed KDP to occupy Musul.
After this date, the U.S. was completely bias towards the Kurds and indifferent and sometimes hostile towards the Turkmens.
They disallowed the Turkmen militia and did not allow the Turkmens to govern themselves. But, allowed Kurdish hegemony in Kerkuk and other Turkmen towns.
PUK established their de-facto Kurdish administration in Turkmen towns, disregarding the Turkmen majority, Kurds began evicting the Arabs brought by Saddam, ethnic tensions reached a height that was never seen before.
All government offices were occupied by the Kurds, Turkmens or Arabs are forced to communicate in Kurdish in order to achieve any official work. Land Registry offices were robbed of its contents to be modified in favor of the Kurds. Fake identification cards showing Kerkuk as their birth place were issued to hundreds of thousands of Kurds.
All exits to Turkmen towns and cities were controlled by Peshmergas. Kerkuk was and is still surrounded by 35.000 Peshmergas ready to enter when the ethnic cleansing starts.
On August 30 and 31st, 2003, Turkmens in Kerkuk and Tuz Khurmatu protested these chauvinistic actions through peaceful demonstrations, Peshmergas fired on them, Turkmens suffered large number of casualties. Every peaceful Turkmen protest ended in bloodshed.
The purest Turkmen city of Telafer (pop. 500.000) was reduced to rubble after 3 major attacks by the American forces which were misled by the Peshmergas, to be the center of the “foreign Terrorists”.
Major Turkmen leaders and active individuals were and are assassinated by daily car bombs in Kerkuk and surrounding areas.
Since the American occupation of Iraq in 2003, the two major demands of the Turkmens for:
a) A fair and internationally observed census and b) Disbanding the Peshmerga militias, were ignored. On the contrary, the Peshmergas were included in the new Iraqi army which was headed by a Kurd as the Chief of Staff.
Under their mercy, there were two elections in Iraq, in which results in Northern Iraq were manipulated and modified to a level that surpassed even the Soviet styles.
Election Violations were committed under the watchful eyes of the Americans the aim was to reduce Turkmen votes to a symbolic level.
Under the wide scale vote forgery, ITF managed to get only one deputy., Shiite Turkmens had no choice but to get their deputies from the Shiite list. Currently, the Turkmens have only 8 deputies among 275 which makes 3% of the population.
THE SITUATION TODAY:
The Turkmens managed to preserve their existence and culture against Arab chauvinism for 85 years. But after 2003, they are facing Kurdish chauvinism and barbarism supported by the United States of America which did not fulfill it own promises of bringing justice, fairness and political honesty to Iraq. It is impossible to see the application of American values in Iraq.
Today, as a reward for their services, Massoud Barzani has been promoted to be the president of the Kurdish region and Jalal Talabani has been promoted to be the president of Iraq. Their final aim is to include Kerkuk in the Kurdish area and then declare it as the Capital of Kurdistan.
With Kerkuk's rich oil revenues they are planning for secession and declare independence from Iraq under U.S. Protection.
Currently, they are preparing to include Kerkuk in the Kurdish region through a tailored referendum at the end of 2007.
To achieve this goal they brought 350.000 Kurds from the mountains of Northern Iraq as well as from Syria, Iran and Turkey (Please see note at the end of the text). They settled some of them in the houses of the fleeing Arabs who were brought earlier during the Saddam era. The rest are waiting in their makeshift houses and slums established on the lands of the Turkmens, as well as government and public lands.
If this happens, the widest ethnic cleansing in Iraq's history will occur. Turkmens and Arabs will be either killed or flee or accept assimilation. The Turkmens of Iraq will cease to exist as a nation. This action will push Turkey, Iran and Syria to interfere militarily, U.S. Will counter attack them and the Middle Eastern War will start.
THE REAL CONDITION OF THE KURDISH PEOPLE:
Although the victims of this occupation primarily are the Turkmens, Sunni Arabs and the Christians, but in fact, even the general Kurdish population is unhappy too. The despotic and undemocratic regimes of the feudal warlords Barzani and Talabani didn't give the Kurdish people their democratic rights and fairness. Barzani and Talabani are presidents for life and so are their dynasties after them. No Kurd has the right to challenge them in tailored elections. Their foreign bank accounts are in Billions. No Kurd has a chance of getting a job without being a member in either KDP or PUK.
Any public protest by the Kurdish public is faced with suppression and disappearance.
TURKMEN DEMANDS AND CONCLUSION:
Despite this bleak reality there is a hope to recover.
Main Turkmen Demands:
1- Cancel Referendum: With the existing demographic changes in Kerkuk, the Turkmens and Arabs will definitely loose. This will start ethnic clashes and regional war. Therefore, the proposed 2007 referendum on Kerkuk must be nullified.
2- Disarm Peshmergas: Kurdish militias must be completely disarmed and authoritarian powers of both Kurdish parties (KDP, PUK) must be removed so that all individuals (Kurds, Turkmens, Arabs, Assyrians) can express their feelings and have the freedom of choice.
3- Reverse Demgraphic Changes: Thousands of Kurdish militias, officials and peasants brought from Erbil, Duhok and Suleymaniye as well as Turkey, Syria and Iran must be withdrawn from all Turkmen lands from Altun Kopru to Mendeli including Kerkuk and Tuz Khurmatu.
4- Turkmen Self-Determination: The Turkmens are the inhabitants of their lands for over a millennium. The Turkmens are a distinct society. They must have the right to self-determination. Their lands cannot be incorporated in either neighboring Arab or Kurdish regions.
5- Fair Census: Population Facts must be established by a fair and correct census under strict international observation.
6- Kerkuk is Turkmen: Kerkuk is a Turkmen city by origin, Kurds influxed to the city in the early seventies and after April 10, 2003. Large numbers of Arabs were placed by the Baath regime in the eighties and nineties. Therefore, the governor of Kerkuk and major administration posts should be given to the Turkmens. The 25% Kurdish residents of Kerkuk are not denied their rights. They should be given their rights proportionate to their real numbers.
7- 2 New Turkmen Provinces: Telafer and Tuz Khurmatu (including Mendeli) to be separate provinces. And the three provinces (Kerkuk, Telafer and Tuz Khurmatu) to form the Federal State of Turkmeneli.. In mixed areas such as Musul and Baquba to be jointly administered by Arabs and Turkmens. Erbil and Khanaqin should be jointly administered by Kurds and Turkmens.
8- Multicultural Iraq: Iraq should be declared a multi-cultural state with three official languages; Arabic, Kurdish and Turkish (i.e. Switzerland).
9- Turkmens a Fundamental Nationality: Turkmens should be recognized by the new Iraqi constitution as one of the 3 main nationalities of Iraq.
10- Turkish to be Official: Turkish language to be one of the official languages of Iraq and used officially in Turkmeneli Federal State.
11- Turkmen Fair Share: Turkmens should have their contingent in administrating Iraq according to their population ratio which will be declared by the general census.
Note: since Mr. Orhan Ketene wrote this article (in 2006) the two Kurdish parties have brought more Kurds from the mountains of Northern Iraq as well as from Syria, Iran and Turkey. Today, the number of 'imported Kurds' has reached over 600.000.