samedi 29 septembre 2012

Two of our relatives killed in a bomb attack targeting Turkmens in Kirkuk

On 7th September 2012, a series of coordinated bombings targeting three Shiite mosques in Kirkuk killed at least eight people and wounded thirty-six.

Our cousin Ali Djellil, a businessman (aged 40) and one of his sons Haider Ali Djellil (aged 12) were among the dead, they were blown to pieces when leaving the mosque after Friday prayers. Our cousin is leaving a wife and five children, the youngest is a six year old girl.

A bomb had been placed in a parked car near the mosque.
A second bomb exploded after the police and rescuers rushed to the scene.
Both bombs killed a total of eight and wounded 36.

Three other bombs targeted two more Shiite mosques in the centre of the city, injuring 34 people.

The Head of the Turkmen Front, Mr. Ershad Al-Salihi and ITF Turkey representative Dr Hicran Kazanci have strongly condemned these attacks in a press statement.

Meanwhile Prime Minister Al-Maliki continues to ignore the Turkmens’ repeated demands to form protection units composed of Turkmens to protect Turkmen neighbourhoods, thus leaving the Turkmen population unprotected and very vulnerable. 

As Violence Increases in Kirkuk the Turkmens Are Targeted
Bilgay Duman, ORSAM Middle East Specialist
12 September 2012

Kirkuk, which has become a deadlock in Iraq, took a knock due to the acts of violence again. Within the last 4 days many people have been killed and injured, as Turkmen officials have directly been targeted and also due to the attacks carried out against places such as mosques, market places etc. with lots of people. The chain of attacks carried out against the Turkmen for a week had been launched with the assassination against Major General Adnan Abdurrezzak, an official of Turkmen origin at the Office of the Ministry of Interior in Kirkuk Governor's Office on September 4. Abdurrezzak, who went grocery shopping during evening hours, was assassinated in the market along with his two security guards. While the following day during noontime the Prosecutor Emel Ahmet Kayacı, official in the Court of Tuzhurmatu in Salahaddin, and his security guard were assassinated; during evening hours of the same day the home of Ali Haşim Muhtaroğlu, ITF (Iraqi Turkmen Front) Deputy Head and Salahaddin Provincial Council Member, was attacked. But it is reported that luckily everybody escaped unharmed from the attack.

Eight explosions hit Kirkuk on Friday September 7. While the fact that most of the explosions took place in husayniyya (Shiite mosque) and in mosques during the Friday prayer draws the attention, the fact that the explosions mostly take place in Tisin, Domis, Atlas Streets and in areas such as Musalla suggests that Turkmens have still been targeted. The fact that attacks are mostly carried out in Turkmen neighborhoods, that Turkmen officials are directly targeted brought up the issue of protection for the Turkmen to the agenda again. As the Turkmen officials urgently emphasize; especially in Kirkuk the lack of forces to protect Turkmens and insufficiency of the forces affiliated to the current government lead Turkmens to be damaged the most. Even if Turkmens are not directly targeted, Turkmens which are the least protected group in Kirkuk are damaged the most. 

As it is known, in Kirkuk, there are peshmerga and public order forces of Kurdish parties as well as police forces of the Iraqi central government. The aforesaid forces can easily protect the Kurdish neighborhoods. On the other hand, it is known that Sunni Arab tribes also have armed forces. As a matter of fact the majority of Sahwa, local forces created to fight against Al-Qaeda, is composed of Sunni Arabs. Currently, the needs (including their salaries) of Sahwa Forces are provided by the Iraqi central government. However, Turkmens do not have such forces. Besides, it is known that the number of Turkmens are less than the other groups within the security forces of the Iraqi government. Thus, problems take place in protecting Turkmens and Turkmen neighborhoods, and the places where acts of violence are witnessed the most are the Turkmen areas such as Tisin, Baghdad Road etc.

In addition to the fact that Turkmens do not have an armed force, it is also Turkmens who are damaged the most as a result of the conflict in Iraqi domestic politics regarding Kirkuk. Currently, there is a struggle between Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) and Iraqi central government to control Kirkuk. The Iraqi government led by Nouri Al-Maliki has been striving to increase its control over Kirkuk, and to this end, the government has been trying both to draw anti-Kurdish groups, including Sunni Arabs, to their side and also to increase its military power. For example, Maliki formed the Tigris Operations Command, directly affiliated to the Prime Ministry, in order to take security measures in Kirkuk as well as Diyala and Salahaddin. Despite the fact that Kurdish and Turkmen members in Kirkuk Provincial Council opposed to this, the Tigris Operations Command de facto took office. Kurds and Turkmens are concerned about the possibility that it would only be composed of Sunni Arabs. If the objective is to protect Kirkuk, Turkmens demand the formation of a “Kirkuk Force”, which would only be composed of people from Kirkuk and which would include all components living in Kirkuk. Nevertheless, it seems hard to accept this suggestion due to the political stance.

However, the real threat especially for Turkmens is considered to be the effort to create a sectarian conflict in Kirkuk. Because it is important to note that most of the explosions on September 7 targeted husayniyyas. If this situation increasingly continues, it might lead to a sectarian conflict in Kirkuk. The most damaged group would be Turkmens. Because almost all Arabs and Kurds in Kirkuk are Sunni. But there are both Shiites and Sunnis among the Turkmen in Kirkuk. In case a potential sectarian conflict takes place, Turkmens might become polarized (even if a low possibility). It is important to note that Turkmens are politically divided in Kirkuk. Shiite Turkmen parties formed a Turkmen coalition. Even though their goal is to form a Turkmen unity, the fact that this coalition only includes Shiite Turkmen parties might be considered as the major obstacle before creating this unity. Even during the most violent sectarian conflict in Iraq, sectarian problems did not take place among Turkmens in Kirkuk which is the stronghold of the Turkmen identity. Nevertheless, the consequences of such a situation to directly take place in Kirkuk might not be in favor of Turkmens. Therefore, it would be good for Turkmen institutions and organizations, Turkmen people and particularly for Turkmen politicians to be moderate. It can be assessed that there might be those who would want to prevent the rise of Turkmens in the Iraqi politics in the recent period. Turkmens are the balance factor in Kirkuk. There might be some groups that would like to create division among Turkmens. Because whenever Turkmens act in unison with any group, it is highly possible that the aforesaid group will become stronger. Disturbing this balance would bring grief not only to Turkmens but also to Kirkuk in general. And a major trouble to take place in Kirkuk would easily reflect badly on all across Iraq.

Below are some articles reporting the bomb attacks of 7 September 2012:

Iraq: Multiple Bombings Kill 8 at Mosques in Kirkuk
Published: September 7, 2012
Three separate bomb attacks against Shiite mosques in the northern city of Kirkuk killed eight civilians on Friday and wounded 70 others, the police said. The attacks took place as worshippers were leaving the mosques, said the Kirkuk police commander, Brig. Gen. Sarhad Qadir. He said the deadliest attack occurred when a parked car bomb went off in Kirkuk’s southern Domiz area. A second bomb exploded after the police and rescuers rushed to the scene. Those explosions killed a total of eight people and wounded 36. At two other mosques in the center of the city, three bombs wounded 34 people.

SULAIMANIYAH, Iraq (AP) – Three separate bomb attacks against Shiite mosques in a volatile northern Iraqi city killed eight civilians on Friday and injured 70 others, police said.

Citizens and security forces inspect the scene of a car bomb attack in Kirkuk, Iraq on Friday.
By Emad Matti, AP
Kirkuk police commander Brig. Gen. Sarhad Qadir said the blasts took place as worshipers were leaving mosques

Qadir said the deadliest attack occurred when a parked car bomb went off in Kirkuk's southern Domiz area.

A second bomb exploded after police and rescuers rushed to the scene. Both bombs killed a total of eight and wounded 36.

Three other bombs targeted two more mosques in the center of the city, causing 34 injuries but no fatalities.

Eight killed in Kirkuk bomb attacks

String of bomb attacks targeting Shiite places of worship kills at
least eight people, wounds 33 others.

Middle East Online

KIRKUK, Iraq - A series of apparently coordinated bombings
targeting Shiite places of worship, or husseiniyahs, in north Iraq
killed at least eight people and wounded 33 on Friday, a medical
official said.

A car bomb targeted the Khezal al-Tamimi husseiniyah in central
Kirkuk at about 12:55 pm (0955 GMT), followed by a bombing
at Imam Ali husseiniyah in the city's northeast, and three bombings
at Al-Mustafa  husseiniyah in south Kirkuk, security and medical
officials said.

Sadiq Omar Rasul, the head of Kirkuk health department, said
that  eight people were killed and 33 wounded in the attacks.

An AFP correspondent saw the burned bodies of two children and
dozens of burned-out cars at Al-Mustafa husseiniyah.

Hadi Qanbar, who had been praying at Al-Mustafa husseiniyah,
said that worshippers were told about the attack on Khezal
al-Tamimi and began to leave.

"But when we left, explosions happened one after another," he said.
 "We do not know why we were targeted."

Azhar Kamal, who was also at Al-Mustafa husseiniyah, said: "We
put the blood of the victims on the hands of the prime minister, and
we ask him to protect the people of Kirkuk."

Hassan Hussein, who was at Khezal al-Tamimi at the time of the
attack, said the explosion happened behind the husseiniyah.

"We saw our brothers and friends killed and wounded by this
explosion," he said.

Politics driving Iraq Shia killings: Analyst

More than 33 others were also wounded in apparently coordinated bombings targeting Shia places of worship or Husseiniyahs in Kirkuk on Friday.

Two children are reported to be among the dead.

Iraqi security officials say at least three Husseiniyahs, including Khezal al-Tamimi Husseiniyah which is the site of powerful Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr's main office in Kirkuk, were attacked.

Press TV has conducted an interview with Saad al-Muttalibi from the State of Law Coalition from Baghdad to shed more light on the issue.

What follows is an approximate transcription of the interview.

Press TV: Saad a-Mutallibi what do you think is the reason behind these attacks today?

al-Muttalibi: In the name of God, the most gracious, the most merciful.

It is quite unusual; usually we have atrocities and violence when there is an escalation of violence or escalation of political unrest.

Now we are passing through a quiet political time where political parties are talking to each other and the negotiations are going on and usually with such an easy political environment, we do not have such an escalation of violence and in particular targeted at one sect of the society, i.e. in this case targeting the Shiite in Kirkuk.

This is quite suspicious, we cannot really understand the reason for such a violent escalation of violence targeting places of worship, targeting Shiits in a city that is known for its multiethnic…, multitude of different ethnicities and religions and beliefs and even nationalities.

Therefore it is quite unknown that, the increase in violence, and I personally think that it has something to do with the unrest between the KRG [Kurdistan Regional Government] government and the central government here in Baghdad.

Maybe they are supporters of KRG which are using al-Qaeda or people close to al-Qaeda to put pressure or blackmailing the central government through violence.

Press TV: so you are saying that…, if I am correct to understand this, that since political parties are talking and since negotiations are taking place between political parties that maybe this escalation in violence which we have six blasts as a case in point that has targeted a mosque belonging to Shiite Muslims is to, maybe, have an effect on these negotiations or to throw it off its path?

al-Muttalibi: Yes, most likely. People are targeting…, I mean those criminals are targeting this particular sect in society for a political reason.

I mean we know hate has its limits but this coordinated attack and coordinated efforts in derailing any negotiations or at sometimes putting a political bill as for blackmailing one political party against another.

So the circumstances are, as I said, very suspicious and need a very, very thorough investigation into how the bombs got into this areas and basically who is behind the explosions?

Press TV: And you have stated this relation between the KRG and al-Qaeda, given that context what should the central government [of Iraq] do?

al-Muttalibi: Well, we do have…, I mean the central government has, at present, quite unresolved issues with the regional government of Kurdistan and the tension is quite high between the two entities.

The KRG or the Kurdistan Regional Government is behaving outside of the constitution causing a lot of problems, causing a great loss up to now we are thinking [estimating] in the region of [about] 6.6 billion dollars in lost revenue, lost oil revenue.

There is an interference in the Syrian conflict; Kurdistan [region] is allowing certain violent elements to enter Syria from Kurdistan.

There are talks of camps in Kurdistan which we have no control of.

So there are unresolved issues and what can the central government do? The federal government is tied by the constitution and tied by the political map that we are governed by, through democracy and very much the government cannot deal with this directly; unless they can manage to rally behind the government, the different political blocs within the Iraqi parliament.


vendredi 28 septembre 2012

Turkmen representative Gülşan Kemal Ali chosen as 9th Member of New Election Commission

Iraq lawmakers pick commission for next elections
The 2013 provincial and the 2014 general vote are expected to shape Iraq's future following the withdrawal of U.S. troops last December. The balloting will likely come against the backdrop of intense political struggles among Iraq's diverse religious and ethnic groups.

Lawmaker Muqdad al-Shuraifi, a member of the new election commission, said legislators on Thursday chose Turkmen representative   Gülşan Kemal Ali as the body's ninth member.
Last week, parliament approved the other eight members but stalled on the ninth because various blocs could not agree on whether to choose a Christian or a Turkmen.

The Independent High Electoral Commission is considered one of Iraq's more powerful institutions. The previous commission found itself for months entangled in a heated political debate after the 2010 parliamentary elections.

A Sunni-backed bloc narrowly won the most seats in those elections. Although it was not enough to secure an overall majority, its strong showing was a surprise in the Shiite-dominated country.

Supporters of Shiite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki repeatedly demanded recounts and complained the vote was plagued with fraud. International observers called the vote and ballot count fair. After a torturous recount, also supervised by the IHEC, the original results were widely found to be accurate.

Al-Maliki eventually kept his job after managing to form a broader Shiite collation.
The previous panel also faced corruption charges against some of its members, including commission chief Faraj Al-Haidari.

Shiite lawmaker Ali al-Allaq said 7,800 people applied for jobs on the new commission and nine were selected from 60 finalists.

"Only the best were chosen," said al-Allaq, adding that U.N. officials supervised the selection process.
Along with the Turkmen Kemal, the new IHEC — which is drawn from Iraq's various ethnic and sectarian factions — has four Shiites, two Sunnis and two Kurds.

vendredi 21 septembre 2012

Syrian Turkmen Look to Turkey for Political Leverage

05/09/2012 03:25:00 By EMIKO JOZUKA

A young Turkmen refugee looks out onto Yayladag from a rented home. Photo by Emiko Jozuka/Rudaw.

ANTAKYA, Turkey -- Up until last month, Syrian Turkmen living in villages close to the Turkish border had largely managed to bypass the civil war raging in other parts of Syria.  But ever since a series of regime attacks against their villages prompted an exodus of terrified villagers into Yayladag in Antakya, they have taken on a more active role in the Syrian opposition.
In his friend's rented apartment, Muhammed Khaznadar, a displaced Turkmen teacher, ended a phone call with his brother in Syria who explained the precarious situation back home.  

Tonight everything’s calm over in his village. Yesterday they [regime forces] fired 9 missiles though,” adds Khaznadar with a wry smile.  “You never know when and where the bombardments will fall, that’s why most people fled into Turkey.”  

As he spoke, a fellow Syrian Turkmen, Sadettin Molla bustled in.  There's no doubt that Molla is a busy man.  His phone seldom stays silent, and as chief co-ordinator at newly established Bairbucak Turkmen Society in Yayladag, he acts as a sort of uncle to the thousands of Turkmen refugees who live both in and out of refugee camps in the town.

"It’s not easy for these people to leave their villages and belongings behind, but it's definitely better to live here [in Yayladag] than there [Syria].  We're really grateful for Turkey's support, but our biggest worry is how long this situation will last and how long we'll all be able to keep living like this," explained Molla.

While Molla may have qualms about the future, he is sure that the only future back in Syria is one without President Bashar Al-Assad's regime. 

But the answer to when exactly the Syrian Turkmen became a major opposition movement is varied.  Political activists at the nearby Syrian Turkmen Bloc in Yayladag stated that they and other Turkmen had participated in peaceful demonstrations from the beginning of the uprising. 
Molla pointed out that last month's bombardments against Turkmen villages were a direct government response against villagers who were helping Syrian army defectors cross the border.  According to Khaznadar, the threat against their villages and forced migration was a key factor that pushed them towards the opposition.
Numbering between 500,000 and 1.5 million in Syria, some of the Turkmen populations scattered around Syria have managed to preserve their native Turkic language in the face of decades of Arabisation.
Their language and culture has placed them in a better position than their Arab counterparts when it comes to forging relations with the local Turkish community in Yayladag.
A sense of shared Ottoman history means that Syrian Turkmen associate themselves closely to their hosts and Turkey.  Although they harbour warm feelings towards Turkey and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, they still retain a strong Syrian identity and hope to return to Syria as soon as the conflict is over.

Speaking on the Turkmen identity, Khaznadar said: "My people are the Turks, but my country is Syria. I'm not an Arab, I'm a Turk that's from Syria."

Despite an attachment to their Turkic identity and culture, in their struggle for a democratic Syria, the Turkmen population staunchly rejects any idea of forming an independent Turkmen state and call for a united post-Assad Syria.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu's meeting in August with both Iraqi and Syrian Turkmen reveals the interest that Turkey is taking in minority Turkmen groups. The ultra-nationalist MHP has taken a particular interest in forging ties with the Syrian Turkmen.
In Iraq, Turkey helped to establish the Iraqi Turkmen Front in the 1990s and supports Turkmen rights in the oil rich, ethnically mixed Kurdish, Turkmen and Arab city of Kirkuk.  As in Iraq, the Syrian Turkmen hold counterclaims to mixed Kurdish areas in Syria

Turkmen concerns parallel those of Turkey, especially the ambitions of the Syrian Kurds and the PKK's Syrian offshoot, the PYD, who have established control over parts of north and northwest Syria where some Turkmen live. As a result, Ankara views the Syrian Turkmen as a potentially useful ally in Syria.

According to Dr. Muhammed Sheik Molla of the Syrian Turkmen Bloc in Yayladag, the Turkmen will play an important role in post-Assad Syria. Bringing an end to Assad's regime is a top priority for Syrian Turkmen.  And in recent weeks, two armed Turkmen brigades have started operating under the umbrella of the Free Syrian Army. 
Syrian Turkmen place importance on the birth of a more democratic and united Syria before their own individual cultural rights, but they lament their lack of representation in the Syrian National Council.

Sheik Molla explained that they had hoped for some Turkish government leverage, yet so far, Turkey had not helped them push for a representative in SNC.

"Due to our Turkmen identity and Turkish roots, we wanted a level of support from Turkey.  We're working to put our representative into the Syrian National Council, but it hasn't happened yet.  At the SNC a lot of western countries and their allies pushed for their own candidates, but Turkey hasn't directly given us such support," explained Sheik Molla.
"Turkey looks at the whole of Syria with the same eyes, and it wants us to push for a representative with our own efforts and means.  Turkey doesn't want to be seen as favouring Turks," continued Sheik Molla.

Sheik Molla added that for the Turkmen the door to the world runs through Turkey, and that the Turkmen could form a useful bridge for Turkey in Syria as well.

"Turkmen know Arabic and the Arab culture.  At the same time, they possess Turkish culture and count themselves as Turks.  Syria is a key country in the Middle East and we'll provide the connection to it for Turkey."

jeudi 20 septembre 2012

The role of Iraqi Kurdistan in the Syrian-Kurd Pursuit of Autonomy

Aljazeera Center of Studies


The role of Iraqi Kurdistan in the Syrian-Kurd Pursuit of Autonomy

The green, white, and red flag with a centered star has been flying high in the Kurdish areas of Syria since President Bashar al-Assad withdrew government forces.1There is, in fact, a tacit agreement between Assad and the Syrian Kurds; the latter are free to act, as long as they do not attack Damascusi Since they liberated their cities, the Syrian Kurds have had their first taste of autonomy and have prevented both government and Free Syrian Army troops from entering the territory. They are guided by the example of strong and autonomous Iraqi Kurdistan, which has been emerging since 1991, and they are preparing to ensure their own rights in a post-Assad Syria. This opportunity, however, is tempered by anxiety. With the diplomatic brokering led by Iraqi Kurd President Massoud Barzani, the two main Syrian Kurdish groups (formerly bitter rivals), namely, the Kurdistan National Council (KNC) and the Syrian Democratic Union Party (PYD), have unified to form the Supreme Kurdish Council, much like the rivaling Iraqi Kurd groups, the KDP and the PKK, did after gaining autonomy. The calls for a pan-Kurdish ‘Greater Kurdistan’ – a joining of the Syrian and Iraqi movements into a single entity – however, are low.

Please click on the link below:

mercredi 19 septembre 2012



10 SEPTEMBER 2012- Iraqi Turkmen Front (ITF) Türkiye Temsilcisi Dr. Hicran Kazancı, condemned the bomb attacks executed in Kirkuk killing 9 and injuring 62 persons.

Kazancı specified in his written statement that two individual bomb attacks had been organized in Kirkuk the previous day; one attack carried out in Keyvan, 15 kilometers from Kirkuk with a car filled with explosives killed 5 while the attack carried out in Tuzhurmatu killed 4 persons.

Kazancı expressed his deep sorrow and stated that people had been killed and injured also in the two suicide bombing attacks which took place adjacent to the National Investigation and Information Directorate on the Baghdad Road of Kirkuk. Kazancı continued as follows:

“Terror has revealed its ugly face in Kirkuk once again. May the mercy of Allah be with those who lost their lives and I extend condolences and patience to their families and relatives. I hope those who were injured get well soon.”    

Kazancı drew attention to the recent escalation of terror attacks carried out against Turkmen and continued by saying.

 “These atrocious attacks carried out in order to incept ethnic conflict among the Turkmen people will not be successful. We anticipate that the perpetrators are determined as soon as possible and placed before justice to ensure peace and stability in the country. I believe that our nation will retain restraint in the face of these actions against stability, unity and peace in Iraq and act with good judgment.”