mardi 10 février 2009

The EU must recognize the fact that "Kurdish terror" exists in the north of Iraq

Street in the "OIL-RICH" city of KERKUK
Photo by Mohammed Kelenchy

In Kerkuk Kurdish asayish and peshmerga continue to intimidate the city’s original inhabitants: the Turkmens

When will the Turkmens feel free and safe in their capital city?

The answer is: not as long as the chauvinistic Kurdish warlords and their brutal peshmerga and asayish are allowed to impose their rule by force in northern Iraq.

Our friend Mr. Mohammed Kelenchy, an Iraqi Turkmen photographer who lives in the U.K. has recently travelled to Iraq where he visited Baghdad and Kerkuk.

He spent several days taking photographs in and around Kerkuk of people, mosques, churches, important buildings and monuments. While he was taking some photos in the streets of Kerkuk a Kurdish policeman arrested him and started to question him in a rude manner, refusing to talk to him in Arabic or Turkmen. Our friend was obliged to ask someone to translate for him. Later five more policemen arrived in a van and they brutally pushed him into the van and continued to treat him rudely. His camera was taken and checked and all the photographs he had taken (over 250) in view of making a documentary on Kerkuk city and its surroundings were deleted by the chief police officer (a Kurd) without any justification. Our friend was very annoyed because he lost most of the important shots he had taken during the past two days.

When leaving Iraq Mr. Kelenchy travelled from Kerkuk to Turkey by road, during the journey he and his fellow travellers were stopped twelve times - at each check point - and every time they were questioned and searched and their passports were checked by the Kurds. He said it was a terrifying experience as they did not know whether they would be allowed to continue their journey and because he was afraid that the Kurdish police would confiscate all his CDs and memory sticks.

Our friend further reports that most Arab passengers were taken out of their cars and buses and were forbidden to go through the regional Kurdish area.

It is high time that the European and American human rights defenders and policy makers pay attention to the reports, appeals and complaints from Turkmen, Arab, Shabak, Yezidi and Assyrian communities in the north of Iraq who continue to be victims of exactions and threats by Messrs. Talabani’s and Barzani’s peshmerga and asayish.

An honest and impartial assessment of the situation in the north of Iraq is urgently needed, the European Union must admit that Kurdish terror exists in the north of Iraq and European politicians must put pressure on the Kurdish warlords Messrs. Talabani and Barzani and demand that they immediately stop their racist behaviour and criminal actions against non-Kurds in Iraq.

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