Iraqi Turkmen demand post of parliament speaker
23 April 2012 / TODAY'S ZAMAN, ANKARA
Turkmen have demanded the speaker of the federal parliament in Iraq be a Turkmen.
Abbas Beyatlı, a deputy in Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's State of Law Coalition, said a Turkmen must be given the post of speaker in the federal parliament to correct the imbalance in the distribution of political posts among the various ethnic groups in Iraq.
Turkmen deputies, who brought up Turkmen issues in a parliamentary session on Saturday, announced at a press conference that it was a day of historical importance for Iraqi Turkmen, with problems faced by Turkmen having been dealt with in the Iraqi parliament for the first time. At the session a report was heard on the persecution Turkmen have suffered in the past, the forced assimilation they were subject to, the extrajudicial executions of Turkmen and confiscation of their goods.
Noting that the Turkmen felt on this historic day that they were an essential part of Iraq, Beyatlı announced Turkmen had two major demands that they would never give up. The first is the post of the parliament speaker. “There are no Turkmen in 11 posts of strategic importance. In order for a balance to be achieved, we demand that the speaker of the federal parliament be a Turkmen,” Beyatlı said.
The second demand regards confiscated Turkmen land. The Turkmen seek return of the land the Iraqi state seized by force in 1976 in the Bashir and Tisin regions. The leader of the Iraqi Turkmen Front, Arshad Salihi, said they brought the Turkmen issue before parliament as they have no hope the National Conference, a government meeting scheduled for the end of the month, will end the political crisis in the country. A committee was formed in parliament to look into the Turkmen's problems and make recommendations.