Below is an extract from Mahir NAKIP’s book: “The Historical and Cultural Identity of Kirkuk”:
14 July 1959 was the first anniversary of the revolution. The whole of Kirkuk was in celebratory mood. Houses and shops were decorated with flags. The Turkmen had raised funds among themselves in order to pay for the decoration of the city. The only unusual event was the Kurdish militia coming on trucks from neighbouring villages with ropes and clubs in their hands. Kurdish officers of the People’s Army were also roaming around the city in their white uniforms imprinted with pictures of doves. They were shouting provocative slogans, praising Qasim and the Communist Party.
The official ceremonies commemorating the revolution started in the evening, at 18:00, due to the severe heat. The first parade, performed by the lawyers, doctors and civil servants had just finished. The Mayor, communist administrators, communist organization members such as the revolutionist teachers and students organizations and People’s Resistance Organization members were ready at the first rows of the second parade. Some Kurdish militia members were shouting slogans against the Turks whom they accused of being nationalists, reactionists and racists.
The first spark flashed when the parade passed in front of the coffee house where Turkmen used to gather. Someone fired some shots and the uproar started. Women and children ran to escape. Uthman Khidir was the first one to be murdered with one single bullet. Uthman Khidir was stripped to the skin and was tied behind a jeep. He was thus dragged through the streets until his body became unrecognizable and tossed away.
The communists, who roamed the streets on the cars of the Second Division and the People’s Army, announced by loudspeaker the imposition of a curfew. But it later became clear that this order was addressed to and followed by Turkmen only. The communists and Kurdish militias started to raid and damage the houses, shops and cars of the Turkmens under the pretext of carrying out searches. The young Colonel Abdullah Abdurrahman, who realized the significance of the situation, went immediately to Baghdad and advised Qasim about the events, but Qasim’s units did not arrive in Kirkuk until three days after the events.
The next target of the communist Kurds was Retired Major Ata Hayrullah, the former Chief of military intelligence for the Second Division and his brother Dr. Ehsan Hayrullah. Both were Nadim Tabakchali’s colleagues. First Ata Hayrullah was called to the division headquarters where he was tortured and murdered. His body was hung on a tree and cut into pieces. His brother was placed under house arrest, where he awaited his own murder. Their relative, Gani Naqib, who struggled unsuccessfully to prevent Dr. Ehsan Hayrullah’s murder, ended up being cut into pieces with axes along with him. Their bodies were also taken to Second Division headquarters and hung up in a tree. These trees, cursed in the eyes of the local population, were later cut down by the mayor of Kirkuk.
Haji Nejim was later slaughtered in front of his family after his eyes were hollowed out. Two young brothers named Jihad and Nihad were slayed and their 14 year old sister Emel was raped and slaughtered.
Many of the victims, who were Turks of every age, were dragged through the streets behind cars until they died; their dead bodies often tied between two vehicles and stretched until they broke in two. Some of the relatives of the victims of these killings, witnessing such atrocities succumbed to bouts of madness. In short, 28 Turkmen were slayed in such dreadful ways as have been here briefly described.
A final evaluation of the Events
There is no doubt that all victims of the 14 July events were Turkmen. They were the leaders and the brothers of the Turkmen of Kirkuk. It was the Turkmen houses and property that were plundered and set on fire. Therefore it would not be fair to judge these events as an action against the people of Kirkuk as a whole; the aim was to wipe out the Turkmen community in Kirkuk.
The 14 July Massacre seriously damaged relations between the Turkmen and Kurds who had lived together on the same lands for many centuries. Until today, no Turkmen has intentionally killed a Kurd, simply because they were Kurdish. So if one would normalize the relations between these two nations, the highest authority of the KDP ought to apologize for the 14 July 1959 events. Such a step would go a long way in assisting the two nations to live in peace once again.
Edited by Mustafa Nakeeb