During a two-day visit to Iraq and the Kurdistan Region, Turkey’s Prime Minister Binali Yildirim urged unity to a Turkmen population divided by Sunni-Shia sectarian lines and shifting political allegiances.
In a meeting on Saturday in Baghdad with several prominent Turkmen leaders and politicians, Yildirim reiterated Turkey’s support to his ethnic kins.
According to a press release on the Turkish Prime Ministry website, Yildirim stated Turkmens “would give no chance to those who try to ignite strife among themselves and between Turkmens and Turkey.”
It was not clear who the Turkish PM was referring to.
Mostly Muslim by religious affiliation, the Turkmen of Iraq are split between the Shia and Sunni denominations; a situation which corresponds to allegiance with Iran and Turkey respectively.
The ongoing Iraqi offensive to oust Daesh from the northern city of Mosul has brought Iraq’s Turkmen population into the spotlight.
Turkmens are a Turkic ethnic group based largely in Iraq and Syria, where they live alongside large Arab and Kurdish populations. The Turkmen community, which includes both Sunni and Shia Muslims, shares close cultural affinities with the Turkish people.
The Iraqi Turkmen community has felt the largest impact from Daesh’s seizure of vast swathes of territory in northern and western Iraq in 2014.
Before Daesh’s emergence in Iraq, Turkmens used to live in northern Iraq, in cities like Mosul, Kirkuk, Erbil, and Diyala. Their land, however, began to shrink, particularly in Mosul and Kirkuk, when the militant group overran Mosul and other cities in northern and western Iraq.
Many Turkmens were forced to flee their homes and took refuge in other areas due to the Daesh militants.
The predominantly Turkmen areas of Tal Afar and Tuz Khurmatu topped the list of cities that saw the biggest Turkmen exodus since the Daesh emergence in Iraq. Read the rest of this entry »
BAGHDAD — Iraqi Turkmens, who are citizens of Iraq with Turkish origins, have been calling for their own independent province in the Tal Afar district west of Mosul, located in the center of the Ninevah province. The Turkmens’ demands coincide with calls for the establishment of other new provinces in Ninevah, such as the Ninevah Plain province for Christians and Sinjar province for the Yazidis.
All of these projects are based on religious or ethnic division, whether among Turkmens, Kurds, Arabs, Sunnis or Shiites. Some see these proposals as the solution to the sectarian, religious and ethnic diversity problems that have caused so much killing and displacement of minorities since the Islamic State (IS) took over the areas in June 2014.
Kirkuk, Kurdistan Region – Kirkuk’s Iraqi Turkmen Front (ITF) has denounced Selahattin Demirtas, head of Turkey’s pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP), for visiting the city, saying Kurdish parties should not bring their issues into multi-ethnic Kirkuk.
Demirtas’s visit, the ITF charged, was part of an attempt to “erase the Turkmen identity” of Kirkuk.
“Kirkuk does not have to be part of the political rivalries since it is the heart of the Iraqi Turkmen,” read a statement by the party.
The Turkmen party sees the HDP’s visit to Kirkuk as a conspiracy against the Turkmen. It said in a statement that “nothing could erase the Turkmen identity in Kirkuk.”
An Iraqi Turkmen leader has warned that predominantly-Turkmen areas in Iraq are at risk due to increasing Arab and Kurdish cultural influences.
Erset Salihi, leader of the Iraqi Turkmen Front, cited as an example the Turkmen city of Tal Afar, a district of the northern city of Mosul.
Mosul, provincial capital of the Nineveh province and Iraq’s second largest city, was overrun by the ISIL extremist group in 2014. Read the rest of this entry »
BAGHDAD — Iraq’s Turkmen bloc is preparing a tribal force to participate in the liberation of Mosul, the bloc’s president said on Saturday.
The President of the Iraqi Turkmen bloc, Arshad Salhi, met with the policy director of the U.S. embassy in Iraq in Baghdad on Saturday to exchange views on the Mosul operation. Salhi announced the plan to create the tribal force to join the Mosul operation. Read the rest of this entry »
Turkmen continue to suffer the most due to lack of security and clashes in Syria and Iraq, Ersad Salihi, president of Iraqi Turkmen Front and Kirkuk parliamentarian, said Monday. Read the rest of this entry »
When Russian warplanes began bombing rebel-controlled villages in northwest Syria late last year reverberations were heard all the way to Ankara. Read the rest of this entry »
Turkmens living in the Bayırbucak region face ethnic cleansing from Russia and Shiite militias supported by the Syrian regime after Sunday’s fall of Rabia, the last major opposition-held town in the coastal province of Latakia.
Read the rest of this entry »