vendredi 11 décembre 2009

The Turzhurmatu Turkmens: A success story



Tuzhurmatu that constitutes a buffer zone between the Arabs and Kurds due to its location is a significant Turkmen settlement in terms of demographic and geographic qualities. Tuzhurmatu is one of the places in Iraq where the Iraqi Turkmen community gained success in the post-occupation period. Tuzhurmatu consolidated this success in the latest provincial council elections as well. Tuzhurmatu is a transition point between Kirkuk and the Turkmens of Diyala. It also provides support to Kirkuk with its political status and Turkmen entity. Therefore, it has been one of the most important districts for the Iraqi Turkmens throughout the years.

Tuzhurmatu which is the provincial district of Salahaddin, located on the north of Baghdad is the second largest district of the province. As usual in the region, the relations are based on earthbound production; therefore the mode of organization is merely tribal-structured. The population is increasing rapidly. Tuzhurmatu’s population which was 128,000 in 2003 before the occupation, increased up to 190,000 nowadays. This figure shows that the population increased 50% during the six years after the occupation. The majority of the Turkmen population in Tuzhurmatu city center is of Shiite origin but the villagers are mostly Sunni. Though there isn’t any sectarian discrimination, the Turkmens are living in peace and are willing to cooperate. Despite there were some provocations to evoke sectarian discrimination in some villages, such efforts were ignored by the locals. Majority of the Turkmens living in Tuzhurmatu are members of the Turkish Bayat branch. Tuzhurmatu’s social structure had a significant influence on the political arena as well. Turkmen’s who were alienated by the former regime, were prematurely politicized and participated in the Shiite movements within Iraq.

There are some facts about politics in the district: ITF who won two seats in Salahaddin in the 31 January 2009 elections, probably gained its greatest victory in Tuzhurmatu. The number of total voters in the district was 90,000 and the electoral turnout was 50 %. Still, ITF managed to get 20,000 votes. This shows that the majority of the Turkmens have voted for ITF. When we take a look at the overall figures in other regions, we see that, Tuzhurmatu was ITF’s greatest success on proportional basis. In particular when considering facts such as the canons of provincial committee elections of 2005 and nonparticipation of Arabs, Tuzhurmatu is a success.

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