lundi 30 septembre 2013

CIVILIAN DEATHS IN IRAQ 2008-2013 (UN Assistance Mission to Iraq)

Is this the price to pay for "imported democracy" ?

Please click on picture to enlarge

Iraqi Turkmen Front headquarters and TERT TV office attacked in Kerkuk

ITC Kerkük ve TERT TV binasına silahlı saldırı

Irak Türkmen Cephesi Kerkük İl Başkanlığı ve TERT Televizyon binası kimliği belirsiz kişiler tarafından silahlı saldırıya maruz kaldı, saldırı sonucu biri kişi yaralandı.

published in Biz Türkmeniz

dimanche 29 septembre 2013




Mrs. Brigitte GROUWELS, Minister of Brussels Capital, honoured the celebrations with her presence 

Iraqi Turkmen and Turkish flags in the heart of Brussels

Mr. Ayhan DEMIRCI, Azerbaycan Belçika Dostluk Cemiyeti and 
Dr. Hassan AYDINLI, Iraqi Turkmen Front (ITF) EU Representative.

Turkish and Uyghur ladies

Merry FITZGERALD, Europe - Iraqi Turkmen Friendships, with Turkish ladies 

Group of Turkish dancers 

vendredi 27 septembre 2013



26th September 2013

Iraqi Turkmen Front Turkey Representative Dr. Hicran Kazancı who is in Kirkuk met with the Governor of Kirkuk Necmettin Ömer Kerimi to discuss recent developments. Iraqi Turkmen Front Turkey Representative Dr. Hicran Kazancı who visited Governor Necmettin Ömer Kerimi discussed the recent political developments in Iraq in general and particularly those in Kirkuk. Dr.Kazancı expressed his appreciation regarding the activities of the Kirkuk administration in terms of reconstruction and development and indicated that they were in favor of strengthening the existing bonds of brotherhood between nations in Kirkuk.

The Kirkuk governor in turn thanked Iraqi Turkmen Front Turkey Representative Dr. Hicran Kazancı who voiced the proceedings in Kirkuk for his visit. Ideas regarding the recent events were exchanged at the meeting.

lundi 23 septembre 2013

KRG general elections: contested by Iraqi Turkmen Front and Gorran party

Iraqi Turkmens seek modest representation in parliament

Iraqi Turkmens seek modest representation in parliament
Iraqi Turkmen Front makes debut at ballot box, as voting ends in Kurdish regional government elections

World Bulletin/News Desk

The Iraqi Kurdish regional government is holding general elections, contested for the first time by the pro-Turkmen political party Iraqi Turkmen Front (ITF).

The voting process has ended, says the election authority.

The ITF, founded in 1995 to represent Turkmens in Iraq, says they aim to win three seats out of five allocated to the Turkmen population in the 111-seat Kurdish parliament.

ITF Irbil representative Aydin Maruf calls it a "significant and historic day."

"There have not been any irregularities so far. We hope the elections will bring a good result for Turkmens in Irbil," he said Saturday.

Maruf aslo criticized the Kurdish government for offering them only five seats in the parliament.

"Our quota is too small. The Turkmen population comes second in the region after Kurds. We demand this quota be lifted. If there has to be one, it must be at least 10-15," he said.

- 'Secret' polling station

The voting process, which started 7:00 local time on Saturday, ended as of 17:00, with a 65 percent turnout rate, the election authority has said.

Iraqi Kurdish regional government prime minister Nechirvan Barzani thanked the public for their participation and an uneventful voting event.

Meanwhile, the main opposition party says it will bring legal action against what it claims are violations of electoral rules that "cast doubt on the elections."

The Gorran party has 25 seats in the parliament, standing in opposition to the Kurdistan List, the two-party coalition of Kurdistan Democratic Party and Patriotic Union of Kurdistan.

Belen Ismail, Spokesman for the Gorran, said the party was planning to file a complaint against an undocumented polling station.

"Before the elections, we received a list of all stations. But Shoresh polling station was not included on that list. Then, it turned out that ballot boxes were secretly sent there at 11:30. No information has been provided to representatives of any party," Ismail said.

More than 3,000 observers were expected to monitor the elections, among them close to 200 foreign nationals, and over 600 journalists reportedly covered the polls.

samedi 21 septembre 2013

Revisiting “Red Lines” by Felicity Arbuthnot

Revisiting “Red Lines” by Felicity Arbuthnot

by Felicity Arbuthnot
Writer, Dandelion Salad
London, England
September 20, 2013
“Two centuries ago, a former European colony decided to catch up with Europe. It succeeded so well that the United States of America became a monster, in which the taints, the sickness and the inhumanity of Europe have grown to appalling dimensions.” Frantz Fanon, 1961. (1925-1961)
Against all odds, given the circumstances, the Syrian government has, of Friday (20th September) sent an “initial declaration” of the country’s (arguably defensive) weapons to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons in The Hague. “The organization is looking at ways to fast-track moves to secure and destroy Syria’s chemical weapons stockpiles and production facilities.” (i)
Putting aside the complexities of “fast-tracking” in a war zone, flooded with foreign and foreign backed, armed and financed insurgents, Syria is now, as Iraq and Libya before it, vulnerable to the massive attack threatened by  John Kerry, Acting Enforcer for the current Nobel Laureate War-Monger-in-Chief, should he so choose.
“The threat of force is real”, said Kerry, speaking aside his other Master, Benjamin Netanyahu, in Israel after a hasty shuttle there last Sunday (15th September.). “We cannot have hollow words”, said Kerry, a man without peer in vacuous idiocies.
The following day the UN produced the weapons inspectors report on the chemical attack in the Damascus suburbs on 21st August. Although the thirty eight page Report did not apportion blame and in spite of all the evidence to the contrary (news, websites) the Syrian government was deemed culprit.
“It is the most significant confirmed use of chemical weapons against civilians since Saddam Hussein used them in Halabja in 1988, and the worst use of weapons of mass destruction in the 21st century,” said UN Secretary General Ki-moon.. “The international community has a responsibility to ensure that chemical weapons never re-emerge as an instrument of warfare.”
Talking to reporters the same day, Kerry pitched in with:  ”…  the military option is still on the table.”
However, a document, of August 2013, seems to show, despite official denials by the Obama administration, that the Syrian insurgents are capable of producing such poison gas.
“The document (ii) reveals that sarin was confiscated earlier this year from members of the Jabhat al-Nusra Front, the most influential of the rebel (fundamentalists) fighting in Syria.
“ … sarin from al-Qaida in Iraq had made its way into Turkey and that while some was seized, more could have been used in an attack last March on civilians and Syrian military troops in an artillery attack in the major Syrian city of Aleppo:
[Moreover, Al Qaida in Iraq:] “had produced a ‘bench-scale’ form of sarin in Iraq and then transferred it to Turkey where opposition forces, including Islamist militant foreign fighters had access to it.
“There’s apparently a large stockpile of sarin in Baghdad …Insurgents are using it to threaten the government there in order to get prisoners released.”
But blind eye turning in US war mongering is the order of the occasion – for both eyes.
The US, of course is a collective veteran when it comes to the use of chemical weapons. The destroyed generations of Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Afghanistan, Iraq, emerging in Libya, of Yugoslavia, with their cancers and unimaginable deformities are silent, ignored, decimated witnesses – and will be for generations to come. Now Syria is threatened with chemical weapons on a war crime defying scale.
On the September 11th, as America mourned its dead twelve years on, a near unnoticed, interminably delayed World Health Organisation Report was released into Iraq’s birth defects, cancers, and health anomalies linked to the country’s twenty year bombardment by the US and UK with Depleted Uranium – chemical and radioactive weaponry. White phosphorous and other yet to be identified “exotic” people and child exterminators were also used.
The UN-US Incorporated have done a shameful job of burying the staggering, horrific resultant health epidemic along with the bodies..
As former UN Under Secretary General and UN Head in Iraq Hans von Sponeck has noted:
“The US government sought to prevent WHO from surveying areas in southern Iraq where depleted uranium had been used and caused serious health and environmental dangers.”
His colleague Denis Halliday also former UN Head in Iraq and Under Secretary General Under commented:
“The World Health Organisation (WHO) has categorically refused in defiance of its own mandate to share evidence uncovered in Iraq that US military use of Depleted Uranium and other weapons have not only killed many civilians, but continue to result in the birth of deformed babies.”
See: “Cover-up of War Crimes in Iraq: When ‘Damning Evidence’ on Congenital Birth Defects becomes ‘No Clear Evidence’: Much-Delayed WHO Report” (iii) a shaming, shocking, and comprehensive read of indeed, a cover-up of enormity.

Trench being dug around Kirkuk in an attempt to reduce terrorist attacks

Analysis: Failing to address the root causes of violence in Iraq

“We want policemen for the Turkmen just like the Kurds have the ‘asayish’,” said Shia Turkmen resident Mohammed al Salihe, referring to the KRG’s security forces. “We want power for the Turkmen in Kirkuk and a police force to be in the Turkmens’ streets. We feel this will increase security, and it will be a safer place.” 

Photo: Ali Arafa/Metrography
A 3-meter-wide trench, expected to be 58-km long when completed, is being dug around the city of Kirkuk in an attempt to reduce terrorist attacks in the city

KIRKUK, 20 September 2013 (IRIN) - In the northern Iraqi province of Kirkuk, a 58km trench is being dug around Kirkuk City to protect it against violence, as regular bomb attacks and assassinations threaten the safety of its multi-ethnic residents.

But experts say this, like other recent security measures, will ultimately do little because it fails to address the root causes of the violence.

Oil-rich Kirkuk Province is at the heart of a power dispute between the central government in Baghdad and the semi-autonomous Kurdish region in the north, ruled by the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG). In the centre of Kirkuk City, many different languages can be heard; Arabs, Kurds, Turkmen, Sunni, Shia and Assyrian Christians all live together here, and citizens from each group crave security.

The trench is part of a wider step up in Iraqi security this year, nationwide. Rates of violence in July peaked to numbers not seen in five years. Early this year, officials announced the tightening of security check points in the city as deadly attacks continued to kill dozens.

Bomb attacks across Iraq killed at least 58 people on 15 September, following at least 21 deaths in a funeral bombing a day earlier. Coordinated sectarian terror attacks now happen every few days, as local and national leaders argue over the best way to end the violence. The International Crisis Group (ICG) said in a recent report that “a revived sectarian civil war is a serious risk.”

In Kirkuk, one particularly brutal suicide bomb in a cafe left over 30 people dead on 12 July. The police response to this was to close all cafes in the city for three days.

At the end of August, Brigadier General Sarhad Qadir, a police chief in the city,told Rudaw news, an Erbil-based online newspaper, that Kirkuk’s police force could not cope: “The armed groups can carry out attacks anytime and anywhere they choose because they are unhindered.”


At an estimated cost of around US$2.8 million dollars, the trench will be 3m wide and 2m deep when finished, according to Qasim Hamza, a deputy minister in the Kirkuk Provincial Council.

“The project will reduce terrorist attacks against the people of Kirkuk,” Hasan Toran, head of the Provincial Council told IRIN.

But the security trench is already controversial. Arab and Turkmen farmers to the south of the city complain that the trench cuts through their land and cuts them off from their water source.

“Our livelihood is the land,” said Salah Sami, who keeps livestock in the village of Chardaglu, 12km south of Kirkuk. “If they don’t deliver water to us, villagers will migrate from this land…We have nearly 10,000 animals that may die of hunger.”

But Toran said any “attacks against farmers” would be more than offset by the added security the trench brings to the city.

Meanwhile, Arab politicians in Kirkuk worry disillusionment with the majority Kurdish provincial government could further inflame ethnic tensions in the city. Experts say marginalization of Sunni Arab farmers could strengthen terrorist groups operating in the area, who feed off disenchantment with the local government.

Responses to the spike in violence

Analysts say the trench may stop a small percentage of attacks in the city in the short-term, but that armed groups will eventually find ways to adapt.

"Any short-term improvements in terms of security could be outweighed in the long-term if the Sunni community feels it is being targeted by the government for a crime they have not committed"

“So far, there appears to be little appetite by political leaders for the compromises necessary to halt the escalating violence,” ICG said in its monthly CrisisWatch. “Instead, the government has requested from the US additional weaponry and intelligence support in order to ‘combat terrorism’.” In August, the government arrested over 670 people, ICG said, as part of a new military operation called “Martyrs’ Revenge”.

The operation focused on large-scale arrests of suspected “terrorists” in predominantly Sunni Arab areas on the outskirts of the capital, Baghdad, as well as seizures of weapons. While the operation saw some successes, it - like the Kirkuk trench - also poses some risks.

“Any short-term improvements in terms of security could be outweighed in the long-term if the Sunni community feels it is being targeted by the government for a crime they have not committed,” said Hayder al Khoei, associate fellow in the Middle East and North Africa programme at Chatham House in London.

Experts say the rise in violence in Kirkuk Province is linked to the growing strength, nationwide, of al-Qaeda and other extremist groups in recent months. Instability stemming from power-sharing disagreements makes Kirkuk an easy target for the groups.


A referendum on the status of Kirkuk, scheduled for 2007, has yet to take place, and there have been no local elections since 2005. The Provincial Council has six members representing the Arab group, nine members representing the Turkman group and 26 members representing the Kurdish alliance. Arabs and Turkmen argue they are under-represented (though the Kurdish Alliance does include other ethnicities), while Kurdish members of the council say the lack of Arab representation is due to an Arab boycott of the 2005 provincial elections.

“There is no equality in power-sharing in Kirkuk,” said Mohammed Alkelal, head of the Arab group on Kirkuk’s Provincial Council. “The security power is controlled by the Kurdish groups.”

In April, security forces of the Shia-led national government violently suppressed Sunni Arab protests against the government in Hawija, south of Kirkuk City. Clashes in the aftermath resulted in dozens of deaths. The incident has led to an increase in violence across the country, analysts said, and Alkelal says violent crackdowns like this have added to Kirkuk’s ethnic tensions.

In order to ensure their protection, a growing number of Turkman in Kirkuk are calling for the establishment of their own police force to secure Turkman areas.

Photo: Bahar Jassim/Metrography
Kirkuk bazaar

“We want policemen for the Turkmen just like the Kurds have the ‘asayish’,” said Shia Turkman resident Mohammed al Salihe, referring to the KRG’s security forces. “We want power for the Turkmen in Kirkuk and a police force to be in the Turkmens’ streets. We feel this will increase security, and it will be a safer place.”

Al Salihe lives close to a police academy and a Shia mosque - both targets of attacks. The 12 July café bombing was also near his home.

The push for ethnically defined security forces is part of a wider trend, as the central government has called on tribal leaders to re-establish ‘Sahwa’, or Awakening, forces across Iraq, to stem insurgencies and localize security. The Sahwa forces were groups of Sunni Arab fighters established by the US military in 2006-7 to tackle Sunni insurgents, such as al-Qaeda.

It is another example, says Sinan Ismael, a Kurdish journalist working in Kirkuk, of taking the wrong approach to security. He believes the answers to Kirkuk’s problems lie in effective power sharing.

Another political analyst working for an NGO in Kirkuk, who wished to remain anonymous, said a move towards ethnic security forces will only damage hopes for cohesion, adding that elections are the only solution to the city’s problems.

But provincial elections have been delayed for years because of complaints from Arabs and Turkmen about the voter register, which they say includes an exaggerated number of Kurds.

Political deadlock in Kirkuk also reflects wider disagreements in the Iraqi government, as experts say that Sunni Arabs feel excluded from decision-making in Baghdad.

“The first step has to be re-establishing confidence and initiating policies that will be inclusive,” said Ali, of the Institute for the Study of War.


jeudi 19 septembre 2013

ITF EU Representative Dr Hassan Aydinli met with the Chair of the Iraqi Council of Representatives' Foreign Relations Committee, Mr. Humam Hamoudi

 European Parliament Brussels - Delegation for relations with Iraq Meeting on 17th September 2013

ITF EU representative Dr Hassan Aydinli with the Chair of the Iraqi Council of Representatives' Foreign Relations  Committee,  Mr. Humam Hamoudi.

mercredi 18 septembre 2013

Conference on the Turkish "BAYAT RUGS" at the European Parliament and opening of the Exhibition by MEP Metin Kazak



"BAYAT is a beautiful and historic district in Turkey, it is 47 km distant from Afyon and 210 km from Ankara. BAYAT has been one of the most special settlement as the Turkish OGUZ clans started settling down, it plays an important role with its unique historical, cultural and artistic heritage, especially with its madder dyed rug (kilim) weaving."
(Excerpt from the book: BAYAT KILIMLERI - BAYAT RUGS)

Event:  THE LANGUAGE OF RUGS - AFYON BAYAT RUG MOTIVES AND THEIR CONTRIBUTION TO THE EUROPEAN CULTURAL HERITAGE - at the EU Parliament on 17th September 2013 and opening of the exhibition by MEP Metin Kazak.

One of the important cultural activities of the OGUZ tribe was rug weaving.
In 1987 thanks to the efforts of the first Governor of Bayat, Orhan Öztürk, and the mediation of the Social Welfare and Solidarity charity, weaving centres were opened in the town center and in the villages.
The women who are weaving their happiness, sadness and heroism to the rugs have reflected their own lives.
Madder dyed Bayat rugs are the first rugs which are recorded by Turkish Patent Institute. (Excerpt from the book: BAYAT KILIMLERI - BAYAT RUGS)

Rugs - Kilims

ITF EU representative Dr Hassan Aydinli attended the conference and the opening of the Exhibition by MEP Metin Kazak at the EU Parliament in Brussels
Example of BAYAT rug (kilim)
The most important feature that separates a rug from a carpet is the difference in the knots. In a carpet knots are woven one by one at the fabric. In a rug (kilim) knots are woven with repetitions, which continuously make intervals among strings. Woven with this style, the surface of a typical rug (kilim) is thin and smooth and therefore there is no difference between the front and the backside.

MEP Metin KAZAK opening the Exhibition

At the centre of this photo: Dr. Professor Nurhan Atasoy
Dr. Nurhan Atasoy has written together with Ms Lale Uluç an important book :
"Impressions of Ottoman Culture in Europe"
(What Europe took from Turkish Culture)

More examples of BAYAT kilims:

For more the BAYAT kilims please see: www.BAYATKILIMLERI.COM

lundi 16 septembre 2013

ITF EU Representative met with Mr. HUMAM HAMOUDI, Chair of the Iraqi Council of Representatives' Foreign Relations Committee, at the Iraqi Embassy in Brussels.

Brussels, 15th September 2013

ITF EU Representative Dr Hassan Aydinli met with Mr. HUMAM HAMOUDI, Chair of the Iraqi Council of Representatives' Foreign Relations Committee, at the Iraqi Embassy in  Brussels.

dimanche 15 septembre 2013

Deadly Bombing Hits Iraqi Funeral

Deadly Bombing Hits Iraqi Funeral
Published: September 14, 2013
MOSUL, Iraq — A suicide bomber killed at least 21 people at the funeral of a member of Iraq’s Shabak ethnic minority near the northern city of Mosul on Saturday, security and medical sources said.

It was not immediately clear who was behind the attack, but Sunni Islamist militants have in the past targeted Shabaks, who are predominantly Shiite, warning them to leave the area.

Iraq’s delicate sectarian balance has come under acute strain from the war in neighboring Syria, which has pitted mainly Sunni rebels against a leader backed by Shiite Iran.

“I was attending the funeral sitting with the women when we heard a huge explosion,” said Umm Mohammed, who was at the funeral in Bartella, about 15 miles east of Mosul in Nineveh Province. “When we went out, we found some men either killed or injured.”

Sunni Islamist insurgents, who view Shiites as infidels, have been regaining momentum in Iraq in recent months, raising fears of a return to the scale of sectarian violence that peaked in 2006 and 2007.

About 800 Iraqis were killed in acts of violence in August, according to the United Nations. At the peak of the civil conflict several years ago, the monthly death toll sometimes topped 3,000.

vendredi 13 septembre 2013

Iraqi delegation to Turkey addresses Syria crisis

Iraqi delegation to Turkey addresses Syria crisis

Iraqi delegation to Turkey addresses Syria crisis

Iraqi National Assembly Kirkuk MP and Chair of the Turkey-Iraq Friendship Association Jale Neftci spoke to Anadolu Agency concerning their Turkey visit by saying that they had come to Turkey upon the demand of Iraqi PM Maliki to recover relations with Turkey

Iraqi National Assembly Kirkuk MP and Chair of the Turkey-Iraq Friendship Association Jale Neftci spoke to Anadolu Agency concerning their Turkey visit by saying that they had come to Turkey upon the demand of Iraqi PM Maliki to recover relations with Turkey.

Neftci stated that both sides have a strong will to recover relations since chilled relations benefit neither Turkey nor Iraq.

Neftci also stated that the request to recover relations between the two countries had been welcomed by Turkish PM Erdogan, Foreign Minister Davutoglu and Speaker of the Turkish Parliament Cemil Cicek.

Expressing that the Iraqi delegation had addressed the deepening Syrian crisis with Turkish officials, Neftci said, “the Syrian crisis affects the whole region including Iran, Turkey, Iraq and Saudi Arabia.”

Neftci also reported that the Iraqi delegation would visit Iran and Saudi Arabia regarding a common political solution for the Syrian crisis.

Stating that Iraq is against a military intervention in Syria, Neftci went on to say, “Iraq has always been in favor of a peaceful solution for any problem erupting in the region, but the US and some European countries seem too insistent on a military operation. We told the Turkish officials that in the case of any military operation in Syria, Iraq will be adversely affected.”

Khalit al-Atiyyah, Group Chairman of the State of Law Coalition, a Shiite coalition led by Maliki, described the main aim of the Turkey visit as being the reinforcement of cooperation and brotherly ties between the two states.

Atiyye said that they had conveyed Iraq's solution for the Syrian crisis, and had listened to Turkey's solution and perspective concerning Syria, requesting that Turkey support the Iraqi solution plan submitted to the Arab League.

"The peaceful solution of the Syrian crisis will help Syrians to achieve democracy and get rid of the dictator," said Atiyyah.

The Toxicity of Everyday Survival in Iraq (Parts 1 and 2)

The Toxicity of Everyday Survival in Iraq (Part 1/2)


An American war experiment in Iraq has exported toxicity and disability across the world. This the first of a two partseries.

For more than two decades, Iraq has been the subject of a large-scale toxic warfare experiment. Operation Desert Storm, fought in 1991, was the first time in military history that depleted uranium (DU) — a nuclear waste by-product — was systematically employed against both military and civilian targets. US forces used DU on a much larger scale during the war and occupation that started in 2003.

The effects of this toxic and biological experiment go beyond body counts and the epidemiological evidence of illnesses. They also go beyond the environmental contamination caused by DU-laden weapons. Toxicity has penetrated the quotidian realities of life in Iraq. It is what Iraqis have to endure and negotiate every day in the face of physical, political, social, and environmental degradation — what I call here, the “toxicity of everyday survival.”

From Cold to Hot Wars

The original research on the use of DU in warfare, dates back to the Cold War era. In the 1970s, US military laboratories began experimenting with alternative heavy metals and alloys to use against the Soviet’s newly developed line of military armor and tanks that were resistant to conventional lead- and steel-based anti-tank ballistics.

Depleted uranium is 2.5 times heavier than steel and 1.5 times heavier than lead. It is also relatively cheap because it is produced from processed uranium nuclear industrial waste. It has many of the “penetrating qualities” that were sought at the time. Thus, projectiles were given the sexually charged name of “DU penetrators.” Moreover, DU was superior to other heavy metals and alloys for its incendiary effects.

While uranium exists in nature in various forms and is used in a number of building products, its use in warfare in high concentrations unleashes a spectrum of toxicity. The bio-toxic life of the DU projectile is released on high-speed impact with the surface of its target. The collision produces colossal kinetic heat, which causes metal to disband and flesh to burn and disintegrate. When the DU projectile pierces a target, such as a vehicle with passengers, its explosive heat carbonizes all forms of life and machinery.

As DU disintegrates under the high heat of the explosion, it turns into its particle form — uranium oxide — which lingers in the vicinity. These particles are water insoluble and their size can be about one-hundred times smaller than a white blood cell. They contaminate water and soil and enter into the food chain. The particles are so small that they can be blown by wind for tens of kilometers. The uranium aerosol enters the body through ingestion or inhalation, or through coming in contact with an open wound.

The toxicity of DU does not come only from its capacity to kill life, but also its ability to create an array of pathologies and afflictions. In the lungs, the radioactive uranium dust has a bio-toxic lifespan of close to one year. It can cause many acute symptoms due to its immediate chemical toxicity, which irritates and destroys lung tissue. As it makes its way to the blood stream, the uranium oxides bind with organic compounds to form chemical and organic complexes that deposit in the bones, lymphatic system, liver, and kidneys. DU’s radioactive toxicity, more than its chemical toxicity, affects the development of different kinds of malignancies and genetic mutations. Still, the chemical and irradiation toxicity occur simultaneously to produce a series of acute, chronic, and deadly ailments.

Empire’s Toxic Laboratories

One tragic irony in the DU toxicity that afflicts Iraq is that while the US developed this weapon for Cold War purposes, it was used for the first time after that war ended. Operation Desert Storm was the first post-Cold War conflict, and the first occasion for the US to experiment with its DU arsenal. Since then, it has been a weapon of choice for imperial adventurism and military operations elsewhere as well.

The US military deployed hundreds of tons of DU during the 40-day military campaign, Operation Desert Storm. Much of its use was concentrated in the south of Iraq, as well as in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, where the main combat between Iraqi military and American-led coalition forces took place. Doug Rokke, the former head of the Pentagon’s Depleted Uranium Project, described Operation Desert Storm as “the most toxic war known to man.”

The force of this toxic storm was emblematic in images of incinerated bodies and the miles of destroyed military vehicles on Highway 80 (the “Highway of Death”) between Kuwait and Basra. The US military used DU-laden weapons to target alleged storage sites and depots of chemical and biological weapons that released more toxicity in the air. The DU arsenal was also used to hit many civilian targets, such as power supply and water purification plants across the country. The US military used DU-laden weaponry even more systematically and expansively during the 2003 invasion and throughout the occupation. In urban warfare, it was fired at vehicles and buildings in highly populated civilian areas. It was employed in “counter-insurgency operations,” such as the two battles of Fallujah in 2004.

For two decades, the use of DU and its effects have been a subject of political and scientific controversy. In the US, this controversy played out in scientific evidence of the links — and official denial of those links — between DU and the variety of inexplicable conditions that afflicted US veterans. These conditions, loosely termed the “Gulf War Syndrome,” affected up to one in four Gulf War veterans. The Pentagon criticized scientific research-based evidence as inadequate, and continued to deny veterans’ healthcare claims based on exposure to DU. The Pentagon asserted the “safety” of DU-weaponry on the basis of a number of questionable reports by the RAND Corporation and the Institute of Medicine, a non-profit organization.

In 2004, the results of a five-year Pentagon-sponsored study insisted that DU was neither sufficiently toxic nor radioactive to cause health threats to soldiers. One official involved in the study reported that DU is “a lethal, but safe weapons system.” The study has been criticized as a cover-up, including by the US National Academy of Science. The Pentagon maintains that the destructive capacity of DU is militarily advantageous, and therefore, a legitimate and necessary element of the US arsenal. Since 1991, American and British DU weaponry has been deployed in a number of military operations. It was used during the 1999 NATO bombing of Kosovo and in the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan. Concerns over increasing cancer rates and other DU-related afflictions have also been on the rise in these countries. Israel also allegedly used DU weaponry in Operation Cast Lead in Gaza in 2008-2009, and its recent airstrike on targets in the Syrian capital, Damascus.

At present, there are no international laws or treaties banning the use of depleted uranium. Therefore, it is up to individual states whether to acquire and use DU-laden weapons. Countries, including Germany, Canada, Czech Republic, Norway, and the Netherlands, have pledged not to use depleted uranium. Only the US and Britain have admitted to using DU in their military operations.

The Breakdown of Health Care in War-Torn Iraq

In the aftermath of the 1991 war, Iraq witnessed a surge of unexplained cases of physical deformities in both human and nonhuman lives in areas that were subjected to heavy bombardment and shelling by the US military. Farmers complained about genetically mutated livestock and crops. There was a rise in unexplained miscarriages, birth defects, and cancer among infants and children. In the words of one Iraqi pediatrician working in Basra: “Something happened to our environment during that war.”

Most research and observations by Iraqi doctors and scientists were dismissed by the US as regime propaganda. Still, the transformations in Iraq’s environment transcended the breakdown of physical life; it generated shifts in structures of health care in the country. The UN-imposed sanctions compounded the impact and effects of environmental toxicity plaguing the country. Across Iraq, cancer wards became emblematic of this breakdown of the depleted capacity of medicine and science to save and revitalize life. In the capital’s main pediatric hospital, families from all over the country rushed their infants and children to seek treatment for different kinds of complex conditions. Doctors nicknamed the cancer ward, “The People’s Republic of China,” in reference to its overcrowded and congested conditions. Often, more than one child shared the same bed in the six-bed-occupancy rooms. Mothers and relatives slept on the hospital’s floor next to their sick children.

In this mélange of care and toxicity, doctors struggled to save lives in the face of lack of basic supplies, shortages of cancer medications, and the deterioration of care facilities and economic conditions brought on by the sanctions. Over the course of a decade and in the face what I call “ungovernable life” — life that is reduced to its mere vital survival and stripped of its potential for revitalization — many doctors fled the country in search of better careers, and to escape the precariousness of Iraq.

This breakdown of structures of care still lingers more than ten years after the US invasion. Every year, tens of thousands of Iraqis have to travel abroad to seek medical care. Their therapeutic itineraries take them to various regional private medical hubs such as India, Iran, Turkey, Jordan, and Lebanon. Unlike the caricature of the medical tourist who travels for cosmetic surgery or other elective procedures, many Iraqis sell belongings or depend on assistance from family, friends, tribes, and political parties to fund treatment for critical health problems.

In Beirut, the American University Medical Center (AUBMC) buzzes with Iraqi patients seeking critical medical and surgical care. They come from all ages, social backgrounds, and governorates. Close to one-third of the approximately 5,000 Iraqi patients who have frequented this one hospital since 2003, come for cancer surgeries, radiation, or chemotherapy. Although cancer care is free in Iraq, patients opt to pursue costly survival options abroad because of the unwieldy bureaucracy and the shortages of cancer medication and technology at home.

The Toxicity of Everyday Survival in Iraq (Part 2/2)


An American war experiment in Iraq has exported toxicity and disability across the world. This is the last of a two part series. Read part one here.

Over the past ten years, the Iraqi leadership and corrupt government institutions have been unable or unwilling to provide basic healthcare to citizens, especially for the rising numbers of cancer cases. In the south of Iraq, even poor families from the impoverished rural areas are left with no option but to seek care in neighboring Iran.

The collapse of medical care has also been mirrored in the breakdown of trust between doctors and patients; this is another essential reason that patients seek care abroad. Iraq’s health system is plagued by mis-diagnosis, mistreatment, and neglect. Patients accuse doctors in Iraq of being incompetent, greedy, and indifferent. One patient, commenting on the lack of trust in medical doctors, summed it up: “All the good doctors have left, and the ones who remain have lost their humanity.” While Iraq was once celebrated as one of the leading countries in the region for its medical capacities and infrastructure, the degeneration of Iraqi health care began under the effects of the 1991 war and 12 years of sanctions.

Thousands of Iraqi doctors and specialists have escaped the country to seek security and careers elsewhere. Since 2003, this exodus has increased due to ongoing violence that targets doctors directly. Hundreds, if not thousands, of doctors have been threatened, kidnapped for ransom, and/or assassinated. Some doctors have refused to perform surgical operations on patients for fear of retribution or demands for “blood money” from angry family members who might not accept unfavorable outcomes. The Iraqi Parliament recently passed a law allowing doctors to carry arms for their own protection.

Injury and Survival

The political and social malaise continues to be shaped by the failure of the political leadership to rebuild the country’s infrastructure. In Iraqi cities, people are forced to deal with paralyzing traffic congestion, security checkpoints, concrete walls, and the noisy hum and fumes of diesel generators that are used to compensate for war-caused electricity shortages. Poverty, disability, and unemployment are rampant. Sectarian violence in the form of car bombs, suicide bombers, and militia attacks hit streets, neighborhoods, markets, and religious sites, turning the urban space into a slaughter spectacle. Killers are elected to parliament, and religious and political leaders incite violence as they secure wealth, property and power. Corruption festers in this everyday toxic environment.

The injury and survival journey of Abu Ahmed, a 35-year-old man from Fallujah, illustrates this everyday toxicity. In July 2006, during the height of the sectarian violence, Abu Ahmed was shot in the face by an American paramilitary sniper who, he presumes, was a Blackwater contractor because of their presence in Fallujah at that time. The bullet pierced his windshield and ripped through his face. He was rushed by passers-by to the nearest hospital in Fallujah. There, doctors replaced lost blood and cleaned his wound. The bullet, which was extracted from his face, destroyed large parts of his left cheekbone, leaving a two-inch crater which makes it impossible for him to close his mouth fully. Abu Ahmed had to readapt slowly to the most basic daily functions of drinking and chewing food.

The hospital in Fallujah could do only so much. Abu Ahmed was told that he needed a more specialized hospital and surgeons capable of providing facial reconstructive surgery. At the time, he would not dare to venture to the capital because of the violence. Patients were being kidnapped from hospital beds and killed by a Sadrist militia group that had infiltrated the management of the Ministry of Health. His only alternative was to seek care outside the country.

Abu Ahmed’s extended family managed to raise some money by selling a small piece of land. With that and his own savings, Abu Ahmed decided to head to Amman to seek the opinion of a specialist. During that period, waves of Iraqis displaced by the sectarian violence were leaving the country for Jordan and Syria. Jordanian officials systematically denied entry to Iraqi Shi’a forcing them to settle temporarily in the more hospitable Syria.

Abu Ahmed, a Sunni from the province of Anbar, had been working as a driver between Amman and Fallujah for years. Indeed, he had been driving back from Jordan when he was shot. When he went to seek medical treatment, however, Jordanian customs officers denied him entry. Trying to explain the reason for his trip, he removed the yeshmagh (kuffiyah) wrapped around his face to show them his injury. After listening to his story, the customs officers were even more insistent on rejecting him. Surveying his wound, they expressed their suspicion about Abu Ahmed’s involvement with a “terrorist group.” From their point of view, what else could explain why US paramilitaries shot him in the first place!

When Abu Ahmed returned to Fallujah, he was advised to try Syria, where medical and surgical treatment was much cheaper than Jordan. After receiving his first reconstructive surgery in Syria, his family pressed him to make repeat trips for cancer tests because his injury is, both literally and figuratively, an open wound, and therefore, all the more vulnerable to toxicity. Abu Ahmed’s family, like many Fallujah residents, was concerned about the rising cancer rates following injuries from American ammunition.

According to Abu Ahmed, this kind of risk management practice has become common knowledge as people experience and deal with rising cancer rates, genetic mutations, birth defects, and disabilities. In 2003, his tribe was targeted in a full-scale US air strike that killed eleven people and injured dozens, including women and children. A number of those who were injured fell sick shortly thereafter and died from rapidly developing cancers or other unexplained conditions. The tribe was attacked by US forces on a number of other occasions as well.

In 2012, Abu Ahmed underwent surgery at AUBMC to reconstruct his facial injury with bone and skin grafts. While the surgery restored his functionality and some of the cosmetic aspects of his wound, he lives with the fear and prospect of developing cancer. For him and his extended family, war injuries and cancer are tightly knit phenomena in these webs of toxicity. His wound is not a mere metaphor of the precariousness of the social body; it is the interstitial materialization of war in his everyday survival.


Since 1991, Iraq has been one of the main sites for a US war experiment that has exported toxicity and disability across the world. Hundreds of known sites are contaminated with depleted uranium (DU) in Iraq. According to one report, the cleanup costs are estimated at $30 million. Recent medical and environmental research in Iraq have just begun to officially document links between the high rates of cancer and congenital birth defects in a number of Iraqi cities to exposure to DU and other toxic weapons. Still, with the ongoing US denial of the lethal and lingering toxicity of DU, and the current political disarray in Iraq, there is little hope that this issue will be addressed anytime soon.

Iraq’s toxicity and the resultant social scars run as deep as the molecular and genetic makeup of society and will afflict generations to come. Despite the end of the occupation in 2011, toxicity still shapes everyday survival in Iraq. The body of Abu Ahmed and millions of Iraqis continue to endure America’s poisonous gift of liberation. Their lives and wounds might be vulnerable to toxicity, but they are open, and shared. They seek everyday survival under conditions that stand as a testament to the horrors of empire’s toxic experiment.

*[This article was originally published by Jadaliyya.]

mardi 10 septembre 2013


9th September 2013

(Please click on picture to enlarge)

lundi 9 septembre 2013

Kerkük'te patlama '2 ölü 19 yaralı'


Irak'ın kuzeyinde bulunan Kerkük şehrinde meydana gelen eş zamanlı 2 patlamada 2 kişi hayatını kaybetti 19 kişide yaralandı. Güvenlik güçleri patlamaya hazır 2 aracı ise etkisiz hala getirdi.

Kerkük'ün kenar semtinde sivillere yönelik bombalı saldırı gerçekleştirildi. 4 bomba yüklü araçlar planlanan saldırıda 2 bomba yüklü araç patladı. Patlamada 2 sivil hayatını kaybetti, 19 sivilde yaralandı. Meydana gelen saldırı nedeniyle çevre evlerde maddi hasar meydana geldi. Güvenlik güçleri bölgede yaptıkları araştırmada 2 adet patlamaya hazır bomba yüklü aracı tespit ederek etkisiz hala getirdi.

Patlamanın neden kendi bölgelerinde yapıldığını anlamadıklarını ifade eden Abdulhusein Huseyni, " Biz ne asker, nede polisiz. Sadece işçiyiz. Bu bize yapılan ikinci saldırı. O kadar fakiriz ki zararlarımızı karşılayacak paramız bile yok"

mercredi 4 septembre 2013

Parliamentary Elections in Iraq's KRG and Turkmens, Bilgay Duman, ORSAM Middle East Specialist

Iraq's Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) is preparing to hold parliamentary elections on Sept. 21, 2013.

The parliamentary elections, which were fixed for Sept. 21 after long disputes, are of great importance in terms of the domestic policy of the KRG. A critical turn is also about to be taken in terms of the influence of especially the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), led by Massoud Barzani, and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), led by Jalal Talabani, which jointly hold power in the KRG, on Kurdish internal politics in the coming period. This is because Islamist Kurdish parties, especially the Gorran Movement, have been preparing for the elections with great hopes. Following the health problems of Talabani, the future of the strategic alliance between the KDP and the PUK is unclear. Besides, the performance of political parties, other than the KDP, will also attract interest should the PUK lose power. Therefore, if the elections are held fairly and transparently, it is highly likely that there will be changes in the internal political and administrative structure of the KRG as a result of the elections.

Where do Turkmens stand in this process? Those elections are as significant for Turkmens as they are for Kurdish parties in the KRG. In accordance with the KRG parliamentary elections law passed in March 2009, Turkmens were allocated five seats in the 111-seat KRG Parliament. Accordingly, during the KRG parliamentary elections held on July 25, 2009, four Turkmen lists -- the Independent Turkmen Movement, the Turkmen Reform Movement, the Turkmen Democracy Movement and the Arbil Turkmen List -- competed for the five seats in parliament. The Iraqi Turkmen Front (ITF), which is the most popular and biggest political Turkmen group in terms of organizational structure, political background and representation capacity, did not take part in the KRG parliamentary elections.

As a result of the elections, the Turkmen Reform Movement and the Arbil Turkmen List won a seat each, while the Turkmen Democracy Movement won three seats. The Independent Turkmen Movement, on the other hand, did not receive sufficient votes to win a seat in parliament. However, major disputes took place regarding the votes received by the Turkmen Democracy Movement, and it was alleged that votes had been illegally transferred to the party, which is known for its close relations with the KDP. The fact that the vast majority of votes that the Turkmen Democracy Movement received came from Duhok, where the Turkmen population is a minority, raised doubts and increased allegations that the KDP wanted to control the Turkmen votes.

Turkmen political groups to run in elections

The objections did not change the result, and the Turkmen Democracy Movement became the Turkmen movement with the biggest number of members, winning three seats in the KRG Parliament. In addition, Turkmens were provided with a ministry in the government that was formed in the post-2009 election, and Sinan Çelebi, the brother of Arbil Turkmen List's leader, Mahmoud Çelebi, was appointed as the minister of industry and trade.

The Turkmen political groups that will take part in the elections to be held on Sept. 21 are:

- The ITF;

- the Arbil Turkmen List;

- the Turkmen Progressive Movement (a joint list between the KDP Turkmen Office, the Turkmen Cultural Center and the Turkmen Democratic Party);

- the Turkmen Change and Renewal List (formed under the leadership of the Turkmen Reform Movement); and

- the Turkmen Democracy Movement.

Considering the increasing number of Turkmen lists taking part in elections before each electoral period in the KRG, it might be concluded that Turkmens have been engaged in politics in the KRG. While Turkmen parties took part in the 2005 KRG parliamentary elections in a joint list led by the KDP and the PUK, four Turkmen lists took part in the 2009 elections. Though it was initially stated that six lists would participate in the parliamentary elections to be held on Sept. 21, the Turkmeneli Party declared it was withdrawing from the elections to support the ITF. Thus, five Turkmen lists will now compete in the KRG elections.

Quota system

However, the fact that Turkmens were provided with a quota within the political system in the KRG limits Turkmens from proving themselves politically. It might be suggested that there is an imbalance in the current quota system when it is compared with the population of Turkmens in the KRG. It would not be wrong to assert that a Turkmen voter who believes that the influence of Turkmen parties will be limited in a quota system avoids voting for Turkmen parties. Similarly, even if Turkmen parties took part in the elections with the quota, they try to grow beyond the quota by establishing close relations with major political parties and lists after the elections. Hence, Turkmen politicians believe that the Turkmen quota in the KRG Parliament should be increased or, if they believe that a real Turkmen potential could emerge, they should agree to drop the quota.

On the other hand, maybe the most important difference between the 2013 elections and the previous ones is the fact that the ITF is taking part in the elections under its own name. As is known, the ITF suspended its dialogue with Kurdish parties for a long time, especially due to the Kirkuk issue, and kept its distance from KRG politics because of the KRG's claims on Kirkuk. Also, the KRG prevented the ITF from conducting politics within the borders of the region and exerted pressure on ITF offices. Furthermore, the offices and bureaus of the ITF were seized with the support of peshmerga forces and given over to some Turkmen parties and organizations alleged to be pro-KDP. However, Kurdish groups reduced their pressure on Turkmens upon Turkey's recommendation, and the ITF showed moderation towards Kurds in politics in parallel with developing relations between Turkey and the KRG after 2011. As a result, the Arbil office of the ITF was reopened and a dialogue was established between the ITF and KRG politicians.

Excitement and pressure

The restarting of the ITF's political activities within the KRG caused excitement among Turkmens in the region. It is clearly felt when one talks to Turkmens in the KRG. Nevertheless, it is necessary to touch on some issues at this point. Despite the re-launching of the ITF's political activities in the KRG, it is not yet certain whether the front will receive the support of the Turkmen people. The people still feel pressure even if there have been developments in terms of rights and freedoms in the KRG. Turkmens in particular feel this pressure more than others. Therefore, Turkmens might worry that the KRG would exert more pressure if they voted for the ITF. Hence, the Turkmen people in the region could either vote for other Turkmen lists that have better relations with the KRG, like before, or vote directly for Kurdish parties. Many Turkmens in the KRG are directly or indirectly related to the government as they work in government offices. Therefore, Turkmens try to avoid pressure by voting for the party in power or the dominant party instead of voting for Turkmen lists. In addition, another reason is believed to be Turkmens' desire to become integrated in the system in the KRG. Turkmens were excluded from the system in the KRG for a long time due to their political conflict with Kurds. They either worked directly in Kurdish institutions and organizations to become integrated in the system or had to work together. With a realistic point of view, namely based on the idea that it is not possible to make their presence felt, Turkmens endeavored to become integrated in the system.

While the KDP and the PUK -- the dominant parties of the KRG -- held power, they did not make it possible for an opposition to be formed. The emergence of the Gorran Movement and Islamic groups as opposition after the 2009 elections disturbed the parties in power in the KRG. Thus, the reports of many international organizations show that the ruling powers in the KRG exerted pressure on opponent political groups through media organs, political organizations and government offices as well as through jurisdiction and academic studies.

In such an environment, it does not seem possible for Turkmens to preserve their identity and to be active in the political system. Therefore, the majority of Turkmen political organizations in the KRG have adopted a pro-government stance. The fact that the ITF will take part in the 2013 elections makes the situation different. From this point of view, the performance of the ITF before the elections is important in terms of the Turkmen identity. But opposition parties in particular raise allegations regarding electoral fraud in elections in the KRG. The suspicions over whether the Turkmen votes will be rigged or not raises question marks in people's minds.

3 September 2013

lundi 2 septembre 2013

The search for Suleiman the Magnificent's heart

Suleiman the Magnificent

Later this month a team of Hungarian researchers will publish a report on the whereabouts of the heart of one of Ottoman Turkey's most famous sultans. But why has this become such an important historical riddle to solve?

The French statesman Cardinal Richelieu described it as "the battle that saved civilisation" - the siege of the Hungarian castle of Sziget, 447 years ago, almost to the day.

The Muslim Turks finally took the town in September 1566, but sustained such losses, including the death of their leader, Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent, that they did not threaten Vienna again for 120 years.

Now researchers are digging in the soil - and the archives - for the good sultan's heart.

"When Hungarians walk through the grounds of the castle in Szigetvar they imagine they are walking through a Hungarian castle. But of course, that is not true," says Norbert Pap, Professor of Geography at the University of Pecs, as we stroll along the beautifully restored brick ramparts.

He smiles. "This is in fact the Turkish castle. The Hungarian one was destroyed in the siege of 1566."

Like the rolling hills of the surrounding Zselic region, each fold of history concerning that siege and what followed, seems to conceal another. And each substitutes another version of events.

On the surface the legend is easy to follow.

Suleiman the Magnificent arrived here with up to 100,000 crack Ottoman troops in early August 1566.

From Our Own Correspondent

The castle was on his route to Vienna, which he confidently expected to capture, and thus pave the way for the addition of great chunks of Western Europe to his dominions.

The air trembled to the beat of the big war drums - made, as they still are today, in the handsome city of Edirne. I once bought one there for my son.

But Miklos Zrinyi, the commander of the castle, and his garrison of only 2,300 men put up such a brave fight that the Turks were stopped in their tracks.

Zrinyi died in the final sortie from the burning castle.

Suleiman died in his tent - some sources say from surprise at his Pyrrhic victory. He was 72, after all, and had been fighting the Hungarians for 40 years.

His body was taken back to Constantinople, but his heart was buried here, in a tomb which subsequently became a Catholic church, dedicated to the Virgin Mary, or so reads the inscription on the Turbeki church, just east of the town.

But that's just a fairy story, Prof Pap explains. The plaque was put there in 1916 by the local priest, for political reasons.

At that time Hungary - or the Austro-Hungarian Empire - was an ally of Ottoman Turkey, two ancient empires stumbling to their ruin in the mud and blood of World War I, and they needed symbols of undying friendship.

Now Prof Pap has been tasked with finding the true burial place of Suleiman's heart, also for political reasons.

Relations between Hungary and Turkey are enjoying a big revival.

Who was he?
Sultan Suleiman I, born 1494, died 1566
Known as the Magnificent, or the Lawgiver on account of his creation of a legal code which lasted hundreds of years
He ruled the Ottoman Empire when it was at its most powerful militarily, its richest and most culturally influential
When he died, the empire stretched into parts of North Africa, the Balkans and present-day Hungary

The two prime ministers get on well. The number of Turkish tourists visiting Hungary has leapt by 45% in the last year.

But there are only 500 beds in this sleepy town, where tens of thousands once slept in tents, listening to the nightingales, preparing for battle.

At stake are a five-star hotel or two, and the further restoration of the castle and a host of Ottoman-era monuments. But everything hinges on finding the resting place of Suleiman's magnificent heart.

There are several maps. One from 1689 even marks the supposed burial place. Others in the war archive in Vienna were prepared for the Habsburg troops who retook the town in the 1680s.

Suleiman had already laid siege to Vienna in 1529

There is more information in the archives of the Vatican, in Venice, in Budapest, and in Istanbul.



Iraqi Turkmen Front Turkey Representative  Dr. Hicran Kazancı participated in the ceremony and reception organized at the Çankaya Palace on the occasion of 30th of August, Victory Day to which he was invited as the guest of President Abdullah Gül.

President Gül welcomed the guests together with Mrs. Gül at Çankaya Palace where the 30th of August reception was held for the first time.

The reception which was held in the ceremony hall in Çankaya Palace was attended by numerous invited guests including the Head of TBMM Cemil Çiçek, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Mrs. Emine Erdoğan, Chief of the Armed Forces General Necdet Özel and Mrs. Kamuran Özel, Deputy Prime Ministers Bekir Bozdağ, Beşir Atalay and Ali Babacan and various members of the Council of Ministers, commanders-in-chief of armed forces, ambassadors, bureaucrats, relatives of martyrs, veterans, academicians, businessmen as well as representatives of non-governmental associations.

ITF Turkey Representative Dr. Hicran Kazancı sent a celebratory message to President Abdullah Gül on the occasion of the 30th of August Victory Day. In his message Kazancı emphasized that the 30th of August Victory Day was a heroic epic emblazoned in history in golden letters depicting the courageous struggle and outstanding sacrifices made by the Turkish nation for independence. Kazancı indicated that during the 91 years which have passed the Republic of Turkey has achieved great victories in the path it has taken in terms of development and modernization and that today Turkey was a strong and respected country in its region as well as the international community. Kazancı said that because of the significant steps Turkey had taken in recent years in terms of democratization Turkey had become an exemplary country in its region and wished that the Republic of Turkey live forever. 

dimanche 1 septembre 2013

We've moved on from the Iraq war – but Iraqis don't have that choice, by John Pilger

Great article by John Pilger:

We've moved on from the Iraq war – but Iraqis don't have that choice

Like characters from The Great Gatsby, Britain and the US have arrogantly turned their backs and left a country in ruins

John Pilger
The Guardian, Sunday 26 May 2013 18.00 BST

Iraq's ministry of social affairs estimates 4.5 million children have lost one or both parents. This means 14% of the population are orphans. Photograph: Reuters

The dust in Iraq rolls down the long roads that are the desert's fingers. It gets in your eyes and nose and throat; it swirls in markets and school playgrounds, consuming children kicking a ball; and it carries, according to Dr Jawad Al-Ali, "the seeds of our death". An internationally respected cancer specialist at the Sadr teaching hospital in Basra, Dr Ali told me that in 1999, and today his warning is irrefutable. "Before the Gulf war," he said, "we had two or three cancer patients a month. Now we have 30 to 35 dying every month. Our studies indicate that 40 to 48% of the population in this area will get cancer: in five years' time to begin with, then long after. That's almost half the population. Most of my own family have it, and we have no history of the disease. It is like Chernobyl here; the genetic effects are new to us; the mushrooms grow huge; even the grapes in my garden have mutated and can't be eaten."

Along the corridor, Dr Ginan Ghalib Hassen, a paediatrician, kept a photo album of the children she was trying to save. Many hadneuroblastoma. "Before the war, we saw only one case of this unusual tumour in two years," she said. "Now we have many cases, mostly with no family history. I have studied what happened in Hiroshima. The sudden increase of such congenital malformations is the same."

Among the doctors I interviewed, there was little doubt that depleted uranium shells used by the Americans and British in the Gulf war were the cause. A US military physicist assigned to clean up the Gulf war battlefield across the border in Kuwait said, "Each round fired by an A-10 Warthog attack aircraft carried over 4,500 grams of solid uranium. Well over 300 tons of DU was used. It was a form of nuclear warfare."

Although the link with cancer is always difficult to prove absolutely, the Iraqi doctors argue that "the epidemic speaks for itself". The British oncologist Karol Sikora, chief of the World Health Organisation's cancer programme in the 1990s, wrote in the British Medical Journal: "Requested radiotherapy equipment, chemotherapy drugs and analgesics are consistently blocked by United States and British advisers [to the Iraq sanctions committee]." He told me, "We were specifically told [by the WHO] not to talk about the whole Iraq business. The WHO is not an organisation that likes to get involved in politics."

Recently, Hans von Sponeck, former assistant secretary general of the United Nations and senior UN humanitarian official in Iraq, wrote to me: "The US government sought to prevent WHO from surveying areas in southern Iraq where depleted uranium had been used and caused serious health and environmental dangers." A WHO report, the result of a landmark study conducted with the Iraqi ministry of health, has been "delayed". Covering 10,800 households, it contains "damning evidence", says a ministry official and, according to one of its researchers, remains "top secret". The report says birth defects have risen to a "crisis" right across Iraqi society where depleted uranium and other toxic heavy metals were used by the US and Britain. Fourteen years after he sounded the alarm, Dr Jawad Al-Ali reports "phenomenal" multiple cancers in entire families.

Iraq is no longer news. Last week, the killing of 57 Iraqis in one day was a non-event compared with the murder of a British soldier in London. Yet the two atrocities are connected. Their emblem might be a lavish new movie of F Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby. Two of the main characters, as Fitzgerald wrote, "smashed up things and creatures and retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness … and let other people clean up the mess".

The "mess" left by George Bush and Tony Blair in Iraq is a sectarian war, the bombs of 7/7 and now a man waving a bloody meat cleaver in Woolwich. Bush has retreated back into his Mickey Mouse "presidential library and museum" and Tony Blair into his jackdaw travels and his money.

Their "mess" is a crime of epic proportions, wrote Von Sponeck, referring to the Iraqi ministry of social affairs' estimate of 4.5 million children who have lost one or both parents. "This means a horrific 14% of Iraq's population are orphans," he wrote. "An estimated one million families are headed by women, most of them widows". Domestic violence and child abuse are rightly urgent issues in Britain; in Iraq the catastrophe ignited by Britain has brought violence and abuse into millions of homes.

In her book Dispatches from the Dark Side, Gareth Peirce, Britain's greatest human rights lawyer, applies the rule of law to Blair, his propagandist Alastair Campbell and his colluding cabinet. For Blair, she wrote, "human beings presumed to hold [Islamist] views, were to be disabled by any means possible, and permanently … in Blair's language a 'virus' to be 'eliminated' and requiring 'a myriad of interventions [sic] deep into the affairs of other nations.' The very concept of war was mutated to 'our values versus theirs'." And yet, says Peirce, "the threads of emails, internal government communiques, reveal no dissent". For foreign secretary Jack Straw, sending innocent British citizens to Guantánamo was "the best way to meet our counter-terrorism objective".

These crimes, their iniquity on a par with Woolwich, await prosecution. But who will demand it? In the kabuki theatre of Westminster politics, the faraway violence of "our values" is of no interest. Do the rest of us also turn our backs?

• This article was amended on 27 May 2013. The original referred to the A-10 Warthog aircraft as the A-10 Warhog.