dimanche 12 juillet 2009

Iraqi Turkmen leader’s call to arms

12 July 2009, Sunday

A leader of the Iraqi Turkmens has made an appeal to the Iraqi authorities to let members of his community take up arms to protect themselves against "genocide."

Sawash Auji, who oversees human rights violations in Turkmen-dominated areas in Iraq, made the call following an upsurge in attacks against Turkmens, particularly in the northern parts of the country.

In one such attack in the predominantly Turkmen town of Telafer, to the west of the city of Mosul, 34 people were killed and scores injured. "It is of vital importance that Turkmens are permitted to take up arms and form a force to guard their areas against genocide," Auji said.

Most Iraqi Turkmens live in the disputed oil-rich city of Kerkuk and towns administratively linked to it. But sizeable communities are found in the Province of Nineveh of which Mosul is the capital. Iraqi militias known locally as peshmerga keep Turkmens under surveillance and reject their attempts to take up arms.

Auji said the struggle between Iraqi factions over control of areas which are predominantly inhabited by Turkmens "is the real reason for the latest attacks on Telafer."


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