What Remains after 14th July 1959 of the Massacre of Turkmens?
Bilgay Duman, ORSAM Middle-East Specialist
To read the original article in Turkish please click on:
Below is the English translation
The date between 14th and 16th of July is recognised as the week of Martyrs of Iraqi Turkmens. A systematical massacre had realized against Turkmens who were preparing for the first anniversary celebration of the proclamation of the republic at Kirkuk in Iraq on 14th of July 1959. The main important subject in here is targeting directly to Turkmens. As we got the chance of listening from the witnesses in person, during 3 days of this tragic event, the houses and workplaces of many Turkmens had been attacked, the people who had “accused” by supposing “Turkism” had rallied and executed by firing squad, even the leading Turkmen leaders of that period such as Ata Hayrullah had been mopped the roads up on the back side of vehicles by tied up. Even today, Turkmens may encounter against the more of those upsetting events. Thus the bomb attacks have realised in 1st June and Vasiti District where are thickly populated with Turkmens at Kirkuk on the date of 12th and 15th of July, and at Tuz Khurmatu on the date of 4 th and 11th of July. As the result of attacks, about 50 people has passed away and also over 100 people has wounded. Historically after 2003, Turkmens have become directly a target during the act of violation.
Turkmens became directly a target during the operations performed by USA at Tal Afar where is highly populated with Turkmens in Mosul and is the biggest county of Iraq in 2004-2005, almost 70 percent of the county was obliged to migrate to other counties and cities. On the other hand, the sectarian violence which has been blown up with the explosion of Askaria Tomb in Samarra of Iraq in February of 2006, stroke into Tal Afar, Al-Qaeda and Shia militias realised heavy attacks in Tal Afar and Turkmens were massacred by domestically and broadly in Tal Afar .
Then, after 2003, the presence of Turkmens in Kirkuk have become a target. On the one hand Turkmens came under the assaults, on the other hand, a dense assimilation campaign against the identity of Turkmen in Kirkuk has started. In particular, immigration of Kurds has suppressed the identity of Turkmen. As well, mastering of Kurds over administrative structure in Kirkuk has weakened the force of struggle of Turkmens. Rather than Kurds and Arabs can provide their own guarding force in the region, Turkmens without an armed force have become a target of terrorism. Remaining incapable of the security forces of central government of Iraq on the state policy, has become of Turkmens an open target. So the parties which want to riot in Kirkuk have realised most of their attacks in places where Turkmens are highly populated. It is exact and clear that the most attacked places in Kirkuk are the residential districts thickly populated by Turkmens in the light of experimental information even though we don’t have any directly statistics on this purpose. In this view, it is thought that proving the truth of an opposite assertion is impossible. However, Turkmen leaders, bureaucrats, politicians, academicians and notables in Kirkuk and the other cities where Turkmens live in, have directly a target of attacks. Mustafa Kemal Yayçılı, Yavuz Efendioğlu, Amir Selbi, Yaşar Cengiz, General Adnan Abdurrezzak, Colonel Sabah Karaaltun, Ali Haşim Muhtaroğlu, Ahmet Koca and very important people which we can’t mention their names have been killed because of only being “Turkmen” and protecting the identity of Turkmen. Many of Turkmen leaders have also avoided out attacks by chance.
Here, in Tuz Khurmatu, it is thought that we have to mention about massacres of Turkmen in particular for last 2 years. Tuz Khurmatu was firstly a part of Kirkuk, then joined to the city of Selahaddin where was established in 1976. Its actual population is nearly 150 thousands and the major of population is composed of Turkmens. Tuz Khurmatu where the Kurds and Arabs also live in, has become a district that Kurds have highly immigrated such as Kirkuk after 2003. However, Tuz Khurmatu where is an exact Turkmen residential area with historic, cultural, civil and politic characteristics, has gained an important seat on policy of Turkmen also after 2003. Being ignored although frequently mentioned by Turkmens after the attacks that nearly 20 people with Vice President of Iraqi Turkmen Front Ali Haşim Muhtaroğlu and Ahmet Koca have passed away, Tuz Khurmatu, occupied the political agenda of Iraq. The meaning and the importance for Turkmens of this event that all Turkmen political organisations kept together was showed a common attitude is not limited with Tuz Khurmatu. It is obvious that massacre of Turkmen in Iraq will continue in case of not developing an active protection mechanism for Turkmens. As a result, the massacre of Turkmen remains again after the massacre of 14th July 1959. Turkmens who are the founder factor of Iraq, are an open target. It is a simple matter that massacres against Turkmens will continue in case of not developing an active protection mechanism for Turkmens.