mardi 23 février 2010

The Forgotten Turkmen Land: DIYALA

The stability and security haven’t been restored completely in Diyala, one of the most complicated and problematic provinces of Iraq. Turkmens haven’t been mentioned so far in Diyala that has many problems and hasn’t gone off the boil yet.

The Turkmen population in Diyala has got exhausted with the effects of the conflicts, wars, repressions and poverty since the city was under pressure in Saddam’s term and passed through the Iran-Iraq War. Diyala is one of the most intensive activity areas of Al-Qaida in Iraq and Turkmens have suffered from this group a lot.

Most important of all, Diyala should be remembered again and the interest shown for them should be increased despite its distance from Turkey. The Turkmen population in Diyala is lower when compared to other ethnic groups living there. Although Diyala is a big province and in the past there used to be more Turkmen clans in the city, the assimilation and changing identity are higher than any other region. Some Turkmens are insisting to keep their identities still it is very hard due to the heavy pressure on them. The life based on territory is very strong in Diyala. The Turkmens of Diyala who have a strong tribal identity are discreet people. Despite the extensive Sunni-Shia conflict in Diyala, Turkmens have never had a Sunni-Shia division among themselves or any kind of hostility towards each other.

Turkmens in the region live on agriculture but poverty is increasing due to lack of water resources’, ongoing conflicts and primitive agricultural techniques. Diyala has been neglected until today. Nobody has taken a close interest in Diyala and no service has been taken there. Therefore, Diyala’s order of priority must be increased like Telafer, medical treatments and educational services should be improved. This way, the neglected natives of Diyala can get at least some psychological support.

* Serhat Erkmen, Assist. Prof. Dr., Ahi Evran University, ORSAM Middle East Advisor
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