jeudi 27 mars 2014
TWENTY THIRD ANNIVERSARY OF THE ALTUNKÖPRÜ MASSACRE OF TURKMENS
Extract from Ershad Al-Hurmuzu's book: "The Turkmen and Iraqi Homeland": PAGES 74 AND 75:
"The ignominious defeat of the Iraqi army and the uprising which followed shortly afterwards, in the northern and southern regions of the country, resulted in violent reprisals against the inhabitants: Kurdish divisions of the Iraqi army invaded Kirkuk and embarked on a campaign of pillage and wanton destruction, though Turkmen fighters managed to hold certain districts. The city itself and the towns of Altunköprü (45 kilometres north-west, on the main highway to Erbil), Tuz Khurmatu and Taza Khurmatu temporarily came under siege following the collapse of the uprising on March 27, 1991.
The horrific aftermath was an orgy of revenge by the invaders who slaughtered indiscriminately on the streets and in people's homes as well as vandalizing and wrecking property, public and private. As the terrified inhabitants tried to flee Kirkuk and head for Altunköprü, they came under relentless fire from helicopters and heavy artillery. Soldiers fired on anything that moved and smashed into homes in total disregard of the sanctity of the holy month of Ramadan.
On 28th March 1991, the military forces arrested large numbers of people who were then sent to unknown destinations. Their families were given no details of their whereabouts or their ultimate fate. Then, about three weeks later, mass graves were discovered and, when they were opened, were found to contain piles of dead bodies among them those of children, the elderly and even handicapped. The total number was 102 which included the bodies of citizens who had tried to escape from Altunköprü, Taza and Kirkuk. Their ages ranged from ten to sixty-six years old. Their names are as follows: (follows the complete list of names).
EXCERPT from the book by Ali Gökhan Kayili: "The Iraqi Turkmen 1921-2005" pages 69 and 70
"While the Turkmen were not being affected by the insurgency against the Central Government, they watched developments with worry. An insurgency took place on 18th March 1991, which was instigated by the Kurds from the north, against the Baath administration in Kirkuk. Both PUK militia and KDP militia entered Kirkuk city. They invaded the government agencies and buildings on 18th March 1991, and burned the civil registration records, with the aim to destroy data regarding Turkmen existence in the region.
The Turkmen who did not join the insurgency became victims of military units which arrived from Baghdad on 26th March 1991 in TazeKhurmatu, and 28 Turkmen were killed for no reason. Two days later, military units who besieged Altunköprü on 28th March 1991, killed approximately one hundred Turkmen without any questioning.
Massacres which the Baghdad administration instigated against the Turkmen caused thousands Turkmen to migrate to the borders of Turkey and Iran (at the beginning of April 1991) Nearly 17.000 Turkmen reached the Turkish borders, under difficult