samedi 28 avril 2007


Painting: "Embargo"
Merry Fitzgerald

To an Unknown Iraqi
Hans von Sponeck
UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq (1998-2000)
Geneva, 1st June 2003

To an Unknown Iraqi

There were few flowers, flags or smiling faces. Where were those weapons of mass destruction we assuredly would find? We suffered no guilt and made no apologies says Hans von Sponeck.

What we have done to you in the name of freedom and democracy has no parallel in history. We have trampled the truth concerning your suffering, we endeavoured to solicit allies through bribery and ruthlessly marginalized those who objected to our imperial intentions. Brute force became the substitute for the promise of 1945 “to save future generations from the scourge of war”. It was you who paid the price.

Will you ever forgive us?

The torture of dictatorship was terrible for you; we added the sword of sanctions. The curse of double punishment for something you had not done was the verdict against you. Two million of you died during those years, perhaps more. The figure does not really matter. None should have died because of us; everyone had the right to live, as we do, in peace. Let us not forget the many who are still alive may never live again, maimed and traumatized forever, reduced to empty human shells. We never really wanted to share with you the dream of freedom and democracy. All we were willing to pass on to you was naked hypocrisy.

Will you ever forgive us?

The camera of life takes real pictures. Lest we choose the wrong lenses they tell us the truth. We cannot pretend that we did not know of your plight. We can but admit that we have contributed to your suffering with unsurpassed ferocity. We knew of the malnourishment of your children. We knew of their deaths in the thousands and felt no guilt. Our vision was properly priced, we thought. We did not hesitate a moment to block ever increasing amounts of supplies you needed for survival. They might be used for weapons of mass destruction we argued. Ultimately we had to admit that the sanctions we imposed on you were the most effective weapons of mass destruction deployed.

Will you ever forgive us?

For a long time we limited the amount of oil you could sell, and took from this limitation funds to pay for wealthy governments and firms in compensation for losses they said they incurred when your government was the aggressor in Kuwait. We know that many of your children would not have died had these funds come instead to you. We refused to allow you resources to maintain your schools, hospitals, roads and bridges, to pay for your civil servants, doctors and teachers. We did not even shy away from withholding the meager travel money you wanted to pay your hajjis so that they could pray in Mecca.

Will you ever forgive us?

It was our mandate to follow the impact of our policies on your lives. We severely neglected this responsibility. Intimidated by the power of the moment, we closed our eyes and ears and ignored your pain. We decided that the oil for food programme, the fig leaf of our conscience, was good enough to give you what you needed. Your suffering therefore had nothing to do with us, we pretended. Our former ally, your dictator, was declared the sole source of your misery. Whoever among us protested on your behalf was pronounced unpatriotic, declared a social outcast, was belittled, maligned and even arrested. This was democracy in action.

Will you ever forgive us?

Of course, it did not escape us that the most innocent and most vulnerable among you, your children, the nation’s leaders of tomorrow, were also the most severely punished. Your children did not get the education you and we have had. We purposely blocked the repair of your printing presses and even introduced postal regulations to prevent sending you learning materials, including sheets of music. As one of you said, we destroyed your economy and continued to destroy your minds. Again and again we withheld what you needed to make your water safe to drink and to keep your rivers clean. Contaminated water was a major reason why your children died. We did not care, they were not our children. Drought, pests and epidemics joined the forces of your dictator and our sanctions. We could have increased the pittance we gave to combat these menaces but chose not to do so.

Will you ever forgive us?

There was indeed an axis of evil, an alliance of governments, think-tanks, media and corporations erecting a massive wall of disinformation. Iraq and Al Qaeda, weapons of mass destruction and terrorism, we told the world, were a lethal combination. Hundreds of tons of biological and chemical agents, missiles, rockets and hordes of terrorists were ready to destroy us. An imminent threat existed that only a pre-emptive strike could avert. All those who pleaded for peace, humanity, reason and law were subjected to and punished with ‘shock and awe’ tactics before ‘shock and awe’ was rained upon you. With cynicism we declared that 170 UN bureaucrats and three white helicopters were not up to the job of disarming Iraq. Falsified documents, plagiarized reports, invented intelligence helped us to make our case for war by instilling fear among the innocent and convincing our parliaments to concur. We pretended to care for your sovereignty, yet, in direct contradiction we unlawfully established no-fly-zones in your country and announced that our pilots were there on dangerous missions, risking their lives on your behalf. Instead they came to further weaken you and risk your lives, not ours, before declaring war.

Will you ever forgive us?

For a long time our spin doctors tried to keep us hostage as we watched the tragedy of war and illegality coming closer to your borders. Deep were the divisions among us. Many feared for you while others could not wait to begin a war that had been decided long ago. Our leaders needed to distract us from urgent and numerous social and economic problems. Our eviction from your next door neighbour was imminent. Without your oil the strategy for global domination would not work.

Will you ever forgive us?

We told our young men and women in uniform that they were fighting evil and defending the good. Years of hard work spent refining the technology of death and costing millions of dollars gave us the confidence that the losses would be on your side and not on ours. We ensured that the reports from the war front would portray us as heroes and you as the villains, extensions of an evil dictator. As predicted the most uneven war in history did not last long. Our new weapons were simply too good. While we continued our lives in the comfort of peace, we watched you suffering the horror of war. Honest reporting of a war that was killing your sons and daughters and ours as well could have meant the end of a career for a journalist.

Will you ever forgive us?

There were few flowers, flags or smiling faces. Where were those weapons of mass destruction we assuredly would find? We suffered no guilt and made no apologies. Unfortunately for you, no plan was made for starting the healing. Victors are victors. Chaos suited us well… but we made certain that the oil administration was safe. Our concerns were not yours, quite to the contrary. We watched and encouraged your anger and hate. Yes, your dictator deserved it. However, the greed, yours and ours, raped our common heritage. Your museums are empty, your libraries burnt, your universities destroyed. Only your pride is still there…. and our guilt.

Will you ever forgive us?

Geneva, 1 June 2003

H.C. Graf Sponeck


Ramzy Baroud: Stealing from the Poor and Giving to the Rich

The plundering of Iraq's wealth, first by the UN and now by Iraq's new Green Zone czars, is the biggest, most shameful financial-political scandal of our times.
By Ramzy Baroud 04/27/07

"ICH" -- -- Locating Dartmouth House, where Hans von Sponeck, former UN humanitarian coordinator for Iraq was scheduled to speak in London 18 April, was a challenge. Yet having been lost for an hour in the ever-confusing and expanding city of London was the least of my concerns the moment I slipped quietly into the lecture hall.

His statements were shocking, as were his many statistics: Iraq was simply and shamelessly robbed blind during the period of US-championed UN sanctions. Sadly, the robbery and mismanagement continue to this day, but now the figures are much more staggering.

As Mr von Sponeck spoke, I reflected on my lengthy interview with Iraq's former Ambassador to the United Nations Mohamed Al-Duri. Al-Duri, being interviewed for the first time by English-language media since taking up his post at the UN, revealed to me in early 2001, in equally shocking detail, what sanctions had done to his country and people.

He claimed that the UN was a key part of the problem. Led by two countries, the US and Britain, the UN Oil for Food Programme and the "humanitarian" mission it established in Iraq was reducing Iraqis to beggary, robbing the country blind and mis-managing funds, whereas the large bulk fuelled UN-related missions and operations, with needy Iraqi families receiving next to nothing.

He spoke of the manipulation of Iraq's wealth for political purposes and alleged that the UN was a tool in the hands of the US government, aimed at encouraging widespread popular dissatisfaction with Saddam's government, before the country was dragged into war.

In hindsight, Al-Duri's assessment was very accurate. Promoting his new book, A Different Kind of War, von Sponeck reiterated in essence and substance Al-Duri's claims; the only difference is that von Sponeck was an insider; his numbers and stories impeccable and hardly contestable.

It's no wonder that one and a half years after taking up his post in Baghdad, in 1998, he resigned. Even within such an uncongenial bureaucracy like the UN, some people still possess a living conscience; von Sponeck was and remains a man of great qualities.

By March 2003, when American forces invaded Iraq, the UN was generating $64 billion in sales of Iraqi oil, according to von Sponeck. But scandalously, only $28 billion reached the Iraqi people. If distributed evenly, each Iraqi received half a US dollar per day. According to UN figures, an individual living under one dollar per day is classified as living in "abject poverty".

Even during the most destructive phases of the war with Iran, Iraq managed to provide relatively high living standards. Its hospitals were neither dilapidated nor did its oil industry lie in ruins. Only after the advent of UN sanctions in 1991 did Iraqis suffer with such appalling magnitude. Alas, the tyranny of Saddam Hussein expanded to become the tyranny of the international community as well."Neither the welfare nor sovereignty of the Iraqi people were respected," by the UN and its two main benefactors, asserted von Sponeck.

The UN Security Council's "elected 10 or veto-wielding five" had nothing for Iraq but "empty words," and there were "deliberate efforts to make life uncomfortable (for the Iraqis) through the Oil for Food Programme". All efforts to modernise Iraq's oil industry were blocked, said von Sponeck, at the behest of "two governments that blocked all sorts of items," necessary for even basic living -- again, the US and Britain, the same two that invaded and currently occupy Iraq.

The logic in all of this is clear; the "pre- emptive" war on Iraq was but an extension of the sanctions regime.The assessments of Al-Duri and von Sponeck converge, revealing the shameful intents of the US government and its followers many years before the horror of 9/11 polarised public opinion and allowed Washington's political elites, the neoconservatives and contractors, to make their "case for war".

But where did the money go, during the sanctions and now, four years after the invasion?Von Sponeck reports that a large chunk -- 55 per cent of the money generated from Iraq's oil -- went to fund the UN's own inadequate "humanitarian" programmes. Much of the rest was usurped by the UN Compensation Commission, entrusted with handling damages claims made by those allegedly harmed by the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait.

According to von Sponeck, the Iraqi oil "pie" was so large there was plenty for everyone: Kuwait, Jordan, Turkey, and all the rest. But most ironically, the commission awarded a large sum of money to two Israeli kibbutzim in the occupied Syrian Golan Heights, for allegedly losing some of their income due to the fact that the war damaged the tourism industry in Israel.

The robbery in Iraq hardly discontinued after the "liberation". On the contrary, it intensified beyond belief. The US Government Accountability Office uncovered appalling discrepancies in the US military administration's handling of money: uncountable billions went missing; hundreds of contractors fully paid but the work never done; layer upon layer of shady companies, mercenaries and sub-contractors (Halliburton and its subsidiary Kellogg, Brown & Root but mere illustrations).

In partnership with the new rulers of Iraq, these corporations are stealing the wealth of the once prosperous nation, leaving it in shambles.And now, the Iraqis are facing enormous pressure to approve the Iraqi oil and gas law. The draft bill, according to Iraqi MP Nureddin Al-Hayyali, would give "50 per cent of the Iraqi people's oil wealth to foreign investing oil firms".

The nationalisation of the country's oil industry in 1972 is being reversed. The robbery that began in the early 1990s continues unabated. Shameful as it is, Iraq's new rulers are stealing from the poor and giving the spoils to the rich.

Ramzy Baroud is an Author and Journalist. His latest volume: The Second Palestinian Intifada: A Chronicle of a People's Struggle (Pluto Press, London) is available from Amazon and other book vendors.

vendredi 27 avril 2007


Statement by The BRussells Tribunal Committee
(25 April 2007)

Plans for Al-Adhamiyah confirm that the US occupation and its puppets in Iraq can build nothing but open-air prisons. It will fail.
No military strategy can impose on the Iraqi people an occupation it overwhelmingly refuses. Its resistance is national and continues.
What kind of government walls-in its own people? One desperate and illegitimate, tied to the fate of a defeated occupation.

The latest US ploy to subjugate Baghdad — exemplified in plans to wall-in the district of Al-Adhamiyah — reveals in clarity the Great Lie of the US-led occupation of Iraq. This is nothing more than the implementation of apartheid and sectarianism by a foreign military police state, aimed to break the will of Iraqis who refuse to cede their country, its resources and future to foreign powers and their local lackeys.

Neither this tactic nor others will defeat the heroic resistance of the Iraqi people, which is borne both of situation and history, culture and progress. Sectarianism and apartheid cannot break the geopolitical unity of Iraq, which is a historical, social, economic and cultural reality.
The writing is already on the wall: the US-led occupation is bankrupt, morally, politically, economically and militarily; Maliki’s puppet government exposed as the desperate, mercenary, sectarian, seditious, incompetent, corrupt and backward cabal that it is.

Apartheid, not protection

While US troops and contractors work in haste by night, and under military cover, to wall-in “selected” neighbourhoods in Baghdad, Maliki says one thing and his advisors another. Confronted by the ignominy of the similarity between the barricades his government shunts the Iraqi people behind and the vast Zionist offensive fortification splitting occupied Palestine, Maliki backtracked, saying there are “other ways to protect” Baghdad.

But these walls — vast concrete blocks that the US occupation is manufacturing at a rate of 2000 per week — continue to be constructed and have nothing to do with protection and everything to do with instituting a sectarian division of Baghdad ahead of plans to divide the whole of Iraq along sectarian lines.

By plain logic, when the occupation builds barriers in Iraq it imposes the existence of sectarian or ethnic differences. This sectarianism was brought with the US occupation and is a keystone of its strategy. That Baghdad and Iraq continue to be united in the heart of the population is a defeat for the occupation. Walls are imposed to break this unity, while at the same time they are proof of the failure and despair of the occupation and its puppets.

Not only immoral, but illegal under international law

The option of general imprisonment is not a new strategy, nor limited to Al-Adhamiyah. Al-Dawra, Al-Ghazaliyah, Al-Amiriya, Al-Amel and Al-Adl — all in Baghdad — are among 10-30 other Baghdad neighbourhoods slated to be sealed to the outside world, joining Tel Afar, Fallujah, Al-Qaim, Samarra, Yathreb, Al-Ratba, Haditha, Hit and Al Khalidiyah as besieged “gated communities”, leaving hundreds of thousands of people under de facto house arrest and whole cities, towns and districts in de facto solitary confinement.

“Public order” and the exigencies of “security” cannot be used as justification for ghettoising whole neighbourhoods, towns and cities when the US-led invasion of Iraq was illegal, the subsequent occupation illegal, the puppet government but a furtherance of those illegalities, and current US military tactics but an attempt to quash the legal resistance of Iraqis to colonialism, occupation and aggression in violation of their right to self-determination.[i]
International humanitarian and human rights law prohibits collective punishment, mass civilian imprisonment, and grave violations of rights to freedom of movement.[ii] Occupying powers are also prohibited from engineering demographic changes in occupied countries under the laws of war. Forcible division of the population of Iraq — whether nationally or locally — is a war crime.[iii]
Plans for Al-Adhamiyah reveal other more nefarious aims common to plans to wall-in other Baghdad communities: Al-Adhamiyah is a historic bastion of culture, science, progress, and resistance to colonialism and imperialism. It is a centre of the national sentiment from which has emerged a sustained popular resistance to occupation. Walling-in Al-Adhamiyah is prelude to a wave of assassinations, mass violations of human rights, and political ethnic cleansing.

Stop the walls; stop the occupation!

Despite four years of brutal military aggression, the United States refuses to understand that by definition the Iraqi resistance is the entire Iraqi population resisting occupation. This desperate bid to create ghettos that can be cleansed of that legal resistance is assured to fail, short of complete annihilation of the entire resisting national population.

With polls reporting that over 80 per cent of Iraqis refuse the occupation, the US and its sectarian puppets will have to pacify, imprison or kill over 18 million Iraqis to succeed. America’s destiny in Iraq is thus a destiny of being rejected. The US occupation should accept its defeat and get out.

Every past attempt to ghettoise, wall-in or collectively imprison a population — from Warsaw to Vietnam and Algeria, through South Africa and occupied Palestine — has failed morally and militarily. US plans for Al-Adhamiyah, and indeed the entirety of Iraq, will likewise end up in the rubbish bin of history.

We call on people of integrity and conscience — workers, lawyers, parliamentarians, syndicates, activists, militants and practitioners — to raise their voices in protest, disgust and action:

Stop the military funding.
Stop the walls.
Stop the torture.
Stop the rapes.
Stop the assassinations.
Stop the plunder.
Stop the lies.
Stop the impunity.
Stop the illegalities.
Stop the occupation.
Recognise the resistance!

The BRussells Tribunal Committee
Please endorse and circulate this statement widely.
For information contact and endorsement:


Mr. Bush, Tear Down These Walls!
by Scott Ritter
The ongoing policy of building walls in Baghdad designed to segregate Sunni neighborhoods from Shiite neighborhoods is as morally despicable as it is ineffective. The Soviets built walls; the Nazis walled off entire communities, often as a precursor to rounding up the segregated population and shipping it off to concentration camps. History has rightly condemned both practices. The only modern nation that actively incorporates the construction of walls as an aspect of domestic and foreign policy is Israel, and its policy of apartheid regarding the Palestinians is morally indefensible. That the party of Ronald Reagan would willingly ally itself with those who embrace policies so rightly and strongly condemned by America’s 40th president speaks volumes to the moral vacuum it is operating in today. What is the next step these erstwhile “Reaganites” propose to undertake in Baghdad when the construction of walls fails to impede those who fight for the liberation of their nation from the tyranny of a brutal occupier? Concentration camps?

Irish Peace Laureate Shot By Israeli Troops at Non-Violent Protest - Why Isn’t This News?
April 25, 2007
by Robert Naiman
If you listened to Democracy Now on Monday, you already know the following:
Irish Nobel Peace Laureate Mairead Maguire was among a number of people shot Friday by Israeli troops at a nonviolent protest of the “apartheid wall” in the Palestinian village of Bil’in, near Ramallah.
But if you didn’t listen to Democracy Now Monday, you probably didn’t know that.
Maguire was shot with what the Israeli military - and some press reports - misleading refer to as a “rubber bullet” - that is, a rubber-coated steel bullet.Why isn’t this “news” in the United States? There’s nothing on the web sites of the New York Times, the Washington Post, or the Los Angeles Times, not even a wire story.

By Riverbend
Thursday, April 26, 2007

…Which is the wall the current Iraqi government is building (with the support and guidance of the Americans). It's a wall that is intended to separate and isolate what is now considered the largest 'Sunni' area in Baghdad- let no one say the Americans are not building anything. According to plans the Iraqi puppets and Americans cooked up, it will 'protect' A'adhamiya, a residential/mercantile area that the current Iraqi government and their death squads couldn't empty of Sunnis.

The wall, of course, will protect no one. I sometimes wonder if this is how the concentration camps began in Europe. The Nazi government probably said, "Oh look- we're just going to protect the Jews with this little wall here- it will be difficult for people to get into their special area to hurt them!" And yet, it will also be difficult to get out.

The Wall is the latest effort to further break Iraqi society apart. Promoting and supporting civil war isn't enough, apparently- Iraqis have generally proven to be more tenacious and tolerant than their mullahs, ayatollahs, and Vichy leaders. It's time for America to physically divide and conquer- like Berlin before the wall came down or Palestine today. This way, they can continue chasing Sunnis out of "Shia areas" and Shia out of "Sunni areas".

I always hear the Iraqi pro-war crowd interviewed on television from foreign capitals (they can only appear on television from the safety of foreign capitals because I defy anyone to be publicly pro-war in Iraq). They refuse to believe that their religiously inclined, sectarian political parties fueled this whole Sunni/Shia conflict. They refuse to acknowledge that this situation is a direct result of the war and occupation.

They go on and on about Iraq's history and how Sunnis and Shia were always in conflict and I hate that. I hate that a handful of expats who haven't been to the country in decades pretend to know more about it than people actually living there.I remember Baghdad before the war- one could live anywhere. We didn't know what our neighbors were- we didn't care. No one asked about religion or sect. No one bothered with what was considered a trivial topic: are you Sunni or Shia? You only asked something like that if you were uncouth and backward. Our lives revolve around it now. Our existence depends on hiding it or highlighting it- depending on the group of masked men who stop you or raid your home in the middle of the night.

America turns Baghdad into Belfast
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
By Eugene Robinson

Meanwhile, back in Baghdad, we're building a wall. Actually, quite a few walls.

While we were absorbed with the terrible tragedy at Virginia Tech -- and before that the Don Imus affair and the Attorney General Alberto Gonzales tragicomedy -- the war in Iraq was pushed below the fold. While we weren't looking, the U.S. military started building high walls in parts of the Iraqi capital to separate Sunnis from Shiites.

Basically, we're turning Baghdad into Belfast.

This is supposed to be a temporary expedient, a way to tamp down Iraq's sectarian civil war -- in the capital, at least, which is the ostensible goal of George W. Bush's fraudulent "surge" policy -- by making it harder for the antagonists to get at each other's throats.

The so-called "peace lines" in Belfast, separating Protestants from Catholics, were supposed to be temporary, too. That network of walls was begun in the 1970s.

The construction of barriers and checkpoints that turn Baghdad neighborhoods into what U.S. officers sardonically call "gated communities" is another sign -- as if more evidence were needed -- that Bush's "surge" is nothing more than a maneuver intended to buy time.


While Al-Maliki halts the walling-in of Al-Adhamiyah, other districts are to be sealed off, writes Nermeen Al-Mufti
26 April - 2 May 2007

Suicide attacks in Al-Sadriya, Sadr City, and Al-Kirada claimed over 200 lives in Baghdad last week. Meanwhile, the wall being built around Al-Adhamiyah attracted much comment in the local, Arab and Western media. Contradictory official statements regarding the wall offered further proof that Iraq still lacks a cohesive security strategy, despite the much-vaunted Operation Imposing Law. Concrete walls have been coming up in Baghdad since the security crackdown started over two months ago. Baghdad's inhabitants are now concerned that entire neighbourhoods will end up isolated or divided along sectarian lines.

At first, Al-Adhamiyah's inhabitants thought the concrete blocks were like others erected over the past few years. But when the US media started quipping about the Great Wall of Al-Adhamiyah, concern turned into alarm. US army public relations officer Sergeant Mike Pryor said that the wall was a "central component" of a new strategy to break the cycle of sectarian violence. Pryor said that the construction of the 3.5 metre high wall was still underway. Once the wall is completed, Iraqi-manned checkpoints would be the only way for inhabitants to enter or leave Al-Adhamiyah. According to The Wall Street Journal, other walls are being constructed around the dominantly Sunni Al-Dawra district in southern Baghdad.

Al-Adhamiyah's inhabitants, worried by US media reports, decided to organise a protest march against the wall last Monday. The government reacted by declaring a curfew on that day. Speaking in Cairo, Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki said that he "objected" to the wall and gave orders to halt its construction. But senior Iraqi officers admit that other walls are being planned for Baghdad. Qasem Al-Mousawi, official spokesman for Operation Imposing Law, said that the "encirclement of some turbulent areas would give security forces a better chance of carrying out their duties. Every area that would be encircled would have one entry point and one exit point," he said. Maryim Al-Rayyes, Maliki's advisor on foreign affairs, said the Iraqi government knew about the wall.

The controversy induced by the wall is a reminder that a few months ago, a plan was suggested to dig a moat around Baghdad in order to stop the infiltration of suicide and car bombers. The plan was rigorously attacked and subsequently discarded. But now, Iraqis fear that other areas such as Falluja and Haditha will eventually be declared out of bounds. Several towns are already constantly besieged, such as Yathreb, Al-Ratba and Al-Qaim.

In another development, the Supreme Court has called on parliament to remove the immunity of Adnan Al-Duleimi, head of the Reconciliation Bloc, who stands accused of "terror". Parliamentarian Mohamed Al-Deini scoffed at the idea. "Anyone who dares to speak of the official chaos, the occupation, and the interference of neighbouring countries is automatically labelled a 'terrorist', even if he were a member of parliament."

Al-Deini, who is leaving soon for a visit to the US, told Al-Ahram Weekly that he intends to expose all the mishaps of the occupation. "The Iraqi resistance is not just changing the face of Iraq. It is changing the face of the US administration itself. Public opinion is shifting in the US and around the world. Iraqi resistance is not terror or insurgency, but a legitimate action against occupation."

A source at the Iraqi Defence Ministry said that after Al-Adhamiyah and Al-Dawra other neighbourhoods would be surrounded with walls, including the predominantly Sunni Al-Amiriya, Al-Amel and Al-Adl districts, as well as the predominantly Shia Sadr City.

Although six Katyusha rockets hit Al-Adhamiyah last Saturday, some of its inhabitants voiced concern that the wall would worsen sectarian tensions. Ammar Al-Adhami, an engineer, said that the "government keeps insisting that military action and security plans are the solution. But the opposite is true. The walls in Al-Adhamiyah and other areas prove that the government and occupation forces have failed to bring law and order in Baghdad." The wall may end up separating lifelong neighbours, he pointed out.

Meanwhile, Kirkuk remains a matter of hot contention, with the Kurds insisting that normalisation should proceed according to Article 140 of the constitution. Kurdish parliamentarian Mahmoud Othman warned that the Kurdish bloc would withdraw from the political process unless Article 140 is implemented in full. "Under international law, we have the right to create a Kurdish state," he said. Other Kurdish officials, however, deny any plans to form a separate state. Still, they want the dominantly Turkoman Kirkuk to be officially joined to their areas.

© Copyright Al-Ahram Weekly. All rights reserved


New York Turkmen Institute

Turkmen Iraqi - American Artist Fosters Healing Through His Art
Benefit Exhibit with artist Najim H. Chechen

Friday May 18 6:00-8:00pm, a Reception will be held for a Humanitarian Relief Benefit Exhibit featuring the sculpture by Iraqi born, Turkmen artist Najim H Chechen and the opening of his show Healing Through Art. This exhibit celebrates the beauty of Turkman culture in Iraq.

Pomegranate Gallery located at: 133 Greet Street, New York, NY
(212) 260-4014

About the Artist

Najim H. Chechen, born in Kirkuk, Iraq is a Turkmen Iraqi-American who has been living in the US for the past 23 years. He is a professional artist who creates sculpture, pastels and drawings and who has over 30 years experience sculpting and drawing the human figure. Mr. Chechen still has relatives struggling to survive in both his hometown of Kirkuk and Baghdad where he spent his university day. Mr. Chechen earned a Masters of Fine Arts degree from Pratt Institute in 1984 and Bachelors of Fine Arts degree from the Academy of Fine Art, University of Baghdad in 1970. He founded the Fine Art Studios Sculpture Center in Orange County, NY which operates both a year round series of workshops for adults as well as a bronze casting foundry. He is also co-founder of the Hudson Valley Sculptors Society, an organization of sculptors who live and work in the Hudson Valley. Mr. Chechen has exhibited locally, nationally and internationally. He has been awarded numerous awards, scholarships and honors. His work is highly inventive, expressive and playful. ”In this exhibition, my recent works reflect the dreams for the future that Iraqi people have. The moms, dads and kids of Iraq have dreams too, just like everyone else. With my recent sculpture, I aim to represent the invisible spirit and soul and make it visible. All my figures peer out at the world and ask what will follow next. They look with anticipation, with hope. They are vulnerable but they love life and have a will to survive.”

jeudi 26 avril 2007


by Ali Kocak
The Reality of the Turkmen Population in Iraq

The dilemma of the Turkmen population in Iraq has become a real irony. Although in the era of post Saddam Hussein, Iraq’s ethnic and sectarian diversity has become well-recognized in the United States and in the world, the Turkmens are being slipped off the pages despite their claim of being the third largest nationality in Iraq, and they are banging on the door for national recognition and self - determination.

On the one hand, the Turkmens claim that their population in Iraq is more than 3 million (13% of Iraq’s population); but on the other hand most of the major media and the scholars in the United States present them in very diverse numbers ranging anywhere from 100 thousand to a million [Graham Fuller, 72 Foreign Affairs, 121 1992-1993], or up to 1.5 million [Inquiry Magazine, February 1987 London].

This ambiguity and the diversity in the numbers makes us wonder and ask what is the reality of the Turkmens and their population in this melting pot which makes up Iraq’s diverse ethnic and sectarian mixture. The reality of this diverse distribution and the share of the Turkmens in this mixture have long been suppressed throughout the years. The Turkmens claim further that even in the post Saddam era, for intentional and unintentional reasons, they have been undercounted and their significant presence in Iraq has been forgotten.

To understand the reality of the Turkmens in Iraq and the source of their claim, one may need to consider reviewing some historical facts: In accordance with decisions made during the Lausanne Treaty, a Committee was established to investigate the Social, Economic and the Ethnic structure of the Mosul Province.

The established Committee concluded with the following reports: The only official newspaper published in Kirkuk was in Turkish. British political officers, among the local languages, were able to speak only in Turkish. The population of Altinkopru, Tuzhurmatu, Taze hurmatu and the 75% of Karetepe were inhabited by Turkmens. The population of Taze hurmatu and Tavuk were made up of Turkmens, though in the villages there were some Kurdish inhabitants.

The commission, in their report, also considered and reflected observations made by British traveler Oliver in 1809 about the area. Based on the observations, the Committee reported that the distribution of the population in the Mosul Province was as follows [Dr.Fazıl Hüseyin, Musul Meseles (Mosul issues), S.95 Baghdad 1967]: Christian: 7000 - 8000 Jews: 1000 Arabs: 25000 Kurds: 15000 -16000 Turkmens: 15000 -16000.

The first draft and the original constitution of Iraq were written in three languages: Arabic, Kurdish and Turkish. According to article 74 of Iraq’s constitution, published in 1931, Turkish should be the court language in areas in which the Turkmen population is in majority. The first census in Iraq was conducted in 1947 and it showed a population of 4,816,185 [The New York Times, September 14, 1957] However, the first census which included the ethic structure of Iraq was conducted in 1957 and showed the total population of Iraq as 6,300,000, while the Turkmen population was estimated to be 567,000 [Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs, Volume 24, Number 2, October 2004, pp. 309-325(17)].

After the “1958 revolution”, the new government estimated the Turkmen population, based on 1957 census results, to be 570,000 and in 1965, according to Iraq’s Ministry of Planning, Department of Statistics, the Turkmen population was estimated to be 780,000. According to the statistical data provided by the Iraqi Government, Iraq’s life statistical results showed the following: Population density per square kilometer was: 42 person /km2 Average Birth rate: 4.5% Average population increase: 3.7% Average births per woman: 7 children Death rate: 0.87%.

In reference to the statistical data provided above, Iraq’s population was estimated to increase from (11, 505,000) in 1976 to (18,100,000) in 1988 [Iraq’s Ministry of Planning].

Based on these data and projections for the years 1921, 1926, 1947, 1957, 1959, and 1965, the estimated percentages of Iraq’s ethnic structure were as follows: Christians: 3% , Turkmens: 16%, Kurds: 18%, Arabs: 63%. The distribution of ethnic groups in Iraq’s total population (18,100,000) in the year 1988 was estimated as below: Christians: 546,000 Turkmens: 2,880,000 Kurds: 3,240,000 Arabs: 11,444,000.

In accordance with the data presented by Iraq’s Ministry of Planning, the population of Iraq in the year 2000 was shown to be 20,000,000. Based on this figure and the previous estimation, the Turkmen population in the year 2000 was estimated to be 3, 200,000. 15% of this population inhabits Arbil and 85% live in Kirkuk and Mosul, with some in Baghdad.

Copyright © 2004 Turk of America, Inc. All Rights Reserved.



Michael Totten in his article posts photographs of The Citadel of Kerkuk and writes:
Below are satellite images of a Kurdish neighborhood in Kirkuk in 1997 and 1998 before and after an ethnic cleansing bombardment.”

Contrary to what pseudo-reporter Michael Totten (see link below) writes, the Ancient Citadel of Kerkuk has never been Kurdish. Totten hasn’t got a clue about the history of the north of Iraq, he only repeats like a parrot what the chief of a Kurdish gang tells him. This is what I call unprofessional journalism, it’s dishonest and misleading. Totten never bothered to meet with the original inhabitants of Kerkuk, the Turkmens. Had he discussed the region’s history with Turkmen intellectuals he would not be writing such rubbish and misinforming his readers.

Totten’s articles about Iraq abound in inaccuracies and false information, but Totten is not only ignorant about Kerkuk’s history, he doesn’t even know that Hamburg is not the capital of Germany! Here again, like a parrot he repeats and takes for granted what his Mam Rostam, his Kurdish host tells him: “In Hamburg, Germany, there was a restaurant opposite the Turkish Embassy”!!!. One doesn’t have to be a “professional journalist” to know that Embassies are only located in the capital city of a country, but Totten doesn’t know…yet he has the cheek to write about Iraq’s history for his folk back home!

I strongly recommend to those who wish to find the truth about KERKUK’s history and about the CITADEL OF KERKUK to read Dr. Suphi Saatçi’s well documented and beautifully illustrated book : The Urban Fabric and Traditional Houses of KERKUK (see my previous post).

Extract (Page 43) Dr. Suphi Saatçi writes:

‘ The most noteworthy aspect of Kirkuk’s Citadel, the urban fabric of which is lost almost completely, is that it housed the most significant examples of traditional residential architecture in the city.
Most of the 800 houses located here were important examples of traditional Turkmen residential architecture (Figure 42) Only forty-five of them survive to this day, particularly as a result of recent assaults. Five or six of them were repaired, but their wooden doors and windows have been plundered since April 19, 2003 when Peshmergas entered the city”

Michael J Totten’s reaction :

For God's sake, Blue Woman, I know very well that Hamburg isn't the capital of Germany. Errors inside quotes from other people are their errors, not mine.
I am also well aware of the tendency of Middle Easterners to inflate their ethnic and sectarian numbers in relation to the others. I'm sure Rostam does it, just as I'm sure you do it. I left out Rostam's numbers about the Kurds in Kirkuk because what he said is as unreliable as what you're saying.
Posted by: Michael J. Totten at April 26, 2007 11:17 AM

Anyway, Turkey has a consulate in Hamburg. It was firebombed by terrorists in 1993.
Posted by: Michael J. Totten at April 26, 2007 12:53 PM

Blue woman’s comments:

For God's sake, Michael Totten, stop equalizing the victims with the aggressors, as you westerners have been doing for decades in all conflicts in the Middle East, starting from Palestine and ending in Iraq.

Concerning the north of Iraq, you are putting me at the level of your Mam Rostam, who you are promoting as a new ‘Rambo’ while in actual fact he is nothing else but a gang leader, smuggler, killer and contrabandist who became one of the representatives of a community which has shamefully collaborated with the aggressors of the Iraqi people and the occupiers of Iraq after an illegal war of aggression for their self-interest and against the legitimate interests of the majority of the Iraqi people.

Mam Rostam and his gang who you are promoting and elevating to the status of a nation in the north of Iraq, mainly to break Iraq, to divide it and plunder its wealth, have always worked against the interest of the majority of the Iraqis.

Today, the Kurds are openly and unjustly marginalizing all the other inhabitants of the north of Iraq, especially the Turkmens who are incontestably not only the third main ethnic component of the Iraqi people representing 12% of Iraq’s total population but also undeniably the second main ethnic group of the north of Iraq, with their community counting no less than 3 million Turkmens representing at least 30% of the population of the north of Iraq, where Mam Rostam and his gang with the blessing of the Anglo-American aggressors of the Iraqi people have imposed their hegemony and are now denying the Turkmens their basic and legitimate rights, their history, their representation and the existence of their region ‘TURKMENELI’ in the north of Iraq.

Indeed, a few weeks ago Mr. Massud Barzani, the president of the Kurdish regional government ‘KRG’, passing beyond all limits of honesty, decency and objectivity, bluntly declared that the Turkmens were ‘only a few thousands’ in Kerkuk and he threatened Iraq’s northern neighbour, Turkey - who fed him and his family and who supported him and his group for decades - to intervene in its internal affairs creating problems in Turkey, if the Turks rejects his (Mr Barzani’s) lucubration, fallacious theory and ambition to create a state within the Iraqi state and come to the defence of their cousins, the Turkmens of Iraq , whose existence is threatened and whose legitimate rights and true representation in the north of Iraq are denied by the Kurds.

It is only the beginning of another source of problems for the entire Middle-East and for the majority of the people of this region that your Mam Rostam and his group are actively working to create, unfortunately reporters like yourself are willingly helping them to achieve their objective by diffusing their lies and their propaganda without any reservation and without any verification about their rightness and about the veracity of their declarations!

Time has come to stop throwing oil on the fire that the new crusaders led by the anglo-americans occupiers of Iraq have ignited in the region.

Concerning the inhabitants of the towns and cities of the north of Iraq I recommend you consult the “Ethnographical map – to show distribution of races in Northern Iraq” drawn by the British in 1922 for the purpose of their negotiations with Turkey before the signature of the Lausanne Treaty in July 1923.

You can refer to the British National Archives, London. File No. F.O.925/41335.

Even though this map is biased as it was drawn by the British to serve their imperialistic objectives for the negotiations with Turkey for the signature of the Lausanne Treaty and was intended to reduce the Turkmen importance and representation in the north of Iraq (Mosul Vilayat) and to limit the Turkmen region to a minimum minimorum for their imperialistic objectives, this map nonetheless indicates that: Tel Afer, villages around Mosul, Erbil, Altunkopru, Kerkuk, Tuz Khurmatu, Kifri, Karatepe, Khanekin, Kizlarbat, Mendeli, etc. were Turkmen towns and cities.

Posted by: Blue Woman at April 27, 2007 06:52 AM

mercredi 25 avril 2007


Wathiq Kuzaie/AFP
"With our unity we destroy all the walls of the occupation"


Muqtada al-Sadr has called for more demonstrations against the wall.

"This wall shows the evil will of the occupier and its sectarian and terrorist projects against our people," al-Sadr said in a statement. "We the people of Iraq will defend Azamiyah and other neighborhoods that you (Americans) want to segregate from us. We will stand hand in hand with you (Sunnis) to demonstrate and protect our holy land."


The Urban Fabric and Traditional Houses of KIRKUK
By Dr. Suphi Saatçi, Professor of Architecture

Translated by Dr. Mehmet Bengü Uluengin
Dr Professor Zeynep Ahunbay edited the English copy
First edition: January 2007
ISBN 975-6849-19-3
200 Pages
Kerkük Vakfi
Istanbul 2007

Preface (excerpt)

Throughout history the city has been Turkoman, yet recent political debates have attempted to mask this fact and blur its ethnic and cultural identity. Kerkuk, as such, is a contested and troubled city.

It is obvious that such political distortions cannot be successful for long. Likewise, it should not be forgotten that unjust approaches to such problems only bring resentment, and are not sustainable in the long run.

Before attempting to comment on the ethnic and cultural make up of a city, its architectural fabric must be studied. The way local culture and social life are reflected on the city’s architecture, the traditions prevalent in the area and primary sources such as the biographies of master masons, building inscriptions and local architectural terminology, are of utmost importance in this regard. It is the goal of this book to demonstrate the utility of such sources in gaining insight into a particular locale or city.

With the publication of this book in English, I believe the Western world will have the opportunity to get to know Kirkuk closely. While this book, no doubt, should have been published earlier, even this tardy debut will serve a noble purpose.

Suphi Saatçi, Istanbul August 2006

Chapter One : Introduction
Chapter Two: The City of Kirkuk
Chapter Three: The Traditional Houses of Kirkuk
Chapter Four: Observations on the Folklore of Traditional Construction
Chapter Five: Witnesses of History: Building and Tomb Inscriptions
Chapter Six: Conclusion


U.N. criticises Iraq's Kurdistan on press freedom
25 Apr 2007
Source: Reuters
By Yara Bayoumy

BAGHDAD, April 25 (Reuters) - Journalists in Iraq's Kurdistan face arrest and harassment for reporting on government corruption and poor public services, the United Nations said in a report on the autonomous region.
The U.N. also criticised Kurdish officials for failing to tackle frequent cases of "honour killings" of women and said hundreds of detainees in Kurdish prisons were held without charge.

Kurds promote Kurdistan as one corner of Iraq that is relatively stable, in contrast to the rest of the country that is engulfed in sectarian violence between majority Shi'ites and minority Sunnis. Drawing on that image, Kurdistan plans to build a $400 million "media village" for international organisations.

While most journalists' deaths in Iraq took place in Baghdad, the human rights report on Iraq said most arrests of journalists it recorded between January and March were carried out by the Kurdish security forces.

"The (Kurdish) authorities continued to subject journalists to harassment, arrest and legal actions for their reporting on government corruption, poor public services or other issues of public interest," the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI) said.

The report welcomed a recent review by the Kurdish National Assembly of legislation on freedom of expression and the launch of investigations into several cases involving curbs on media freedom.

Women's rights to life and personal security remained a "serious concern" in the Kurdish provinces of Arbil, Dahuk and Sulaimaniya given the high incidence of "honour killings and other abuses against women", UNAMI said.

"Between January and March, UNAMI received information on some 40 cases of alleged honour crimes ... where young women reportedly died from 'accidental burns' at their homes or were killed by family members for suspected 'immoral' conduct."
It said it continually received reports about domestic and communal violence which were largely ignored by the Kurdish authorities.

The United Nations said it was also concerned about arbitrary detentions by Kurdish authorities. Hundreds of detainees have been held for long periods without charge or without being referred to an investigative judge, it said.

In some cases, detainees were arrested without judicial warrants and all were routinely denied the opportunity to challenge the lawfulness of their detention.

The report said UNAMI had received allegations of torture or ill-treatment of detainees at government detention centres.

UN Assistance Mission for Iraq
بعثة الأمم المتحدة . 1
لتقديم المساعدة للعراق
Human Rights Report
1 January – 31 March 2007

Detentions in the Region of Kurdistan

72. UNAMI remained concerned about the practice of administrative detention of persons
held in the custody of the Asayish (security) forces in the Kurdistan region, the majority
having been arrested on suspicion of involvement in acts of terrorism and other serious
crimes. Many are said by officials to be members or supporters of proscribed Islamist
groups. Hundreds of detainees have been held for prolonged periods, some for several years,
without referral to an investigative judge or charges brought against them. In some cases,
detainees were arrested without judicial warrant and all are routinely denied the opportunity
to challenge the lawfulness of their detention.

73. UNAMI also continues to receive allegations of the torture or ill-treatment of detainees in
Asayish detention facilities. In one heavily-publicized case, Ismail Ahmad Hassan, aged
thirty-five, died while in the custody of Asayish officials in Sulaimaniya three days after his
arrest on 22 April 2004. A Special Investigation Committee comprising three judges with
wide judicial powers and headed by Judge Rizgar Amin, concluded that he had died as a
result of torture. In 2004, the Committee ordered the arrest of three Asayish officers on
manslaughter charges in connection with this case, but to UNAMI’s knowledge none have
been brought to justice to date.

74. On 28 January and again on 27 February, families of detainees arrested by Asayish forces
demonstrated before the Kurdistan National Assembly in Erbil, demanding information on
the whereabouts of detained relatives and the reasons for their arrest, and urging that human
rights abuses and the ill-treatment of detainees in these facilities. Responding to complaint
letters from detainees, the Kurdistan National Assembly’s Legal and Human Rights
committees announced their intention to visit all detention facilities to assess conditions of
detention and to examine the cases of those whom the authorities had failed to refer to the

75. UNAMI continued to urge government officials to implement the provisions of Iraq’s
Code of Criminal Procedure with regard to detainees held in Asayish custody. In this regard,
UNAMI held a series of meetings in February with officials of the Ministry of Interior and
the Asayish Directorates requesting, among other things, that such cases be reviewed as a
matter of priority. UNAMI welcomed the willingness of KRG officials to give consideration
to adopting measures to process these long-standing cases. Officials stated that a review of
detainee cases was ongoing, and provided UNAMI with a list of names of 76 detainees held
in KDP custody, and 22 others in PUK custody, who they said had been released in recent
months following a review of their cases. UNAMI also discussed with officials its concerns
regarding the lack of effective mechanisms to bring to justice officials accused or suspected
of abusing detainees.

samedi 21 avril 2007

Sınır ötesi harekatın çapı ne olmalı??

Ali Koçak

Günlerdir Türkiye`nin kuzey Irak politikasıyla ilgili çeşitli senaryolar üretiliyor, kimileri askeri harekat yapılsın diyor, kimileri ise tamamen karşı çıkıyor!!!!!

Herşeyden önce askeri müdehaleden ne kast edildiğini anlamakta yarar olduğunu düşünüyorum..

Sayın Büyükanıt müdahale yapılmalı derken neyi kast etti acaba?

On - onbeş kilometre kadar sınır ötesi harekatı mı, yoksa gerçekten Kerkük`e kadar ilerleyip Misaki Milli sınırlarımızı geri almayı mı kast etti?

Senaryoların ikisi de birbirinden tamamen farklı, dolayısıyla sonuçları da hem askeri açıdan hem de siyasi ve stratejik açıdan farklı olacaktır.

Görünen o ki, gerek ABD gerekse Avrupa Birliği Türkiye`nin kuzey Irak`a müdahale etme konusundan rahatsız.
Bu konuyu Türkiye`nin dostu olarak bilinen eski Başkan Bill Clinton da açıkça dile getirdi.

Türkiye`nin müdahale etmesi durumunda, anlaşılan ABD Türkiye`ye karşı askeri bir harekata kalkışmasa bile siyasi ve ekonomik açıdan zorluklar çıkaracaktır.

Peki on - onbeş kilometre kadar Kuzey Irak`a sınır ötesi askeri müdahale Türkiye`ye neler kazandırır?

Hiç birşey kazandıramayacağı gibi bazı şeyleri de kaybettirecektir!!!!

Sadece PKK’ya karşı bir harekat yapılmış olacaktır ve millet olarak bir şeyler yapıldı diye kendi kendimizi avutmuş olacağız.

Peki Barzani`nin sesi kesilir mi?

Hayır, üstelik Barzani bu durumdan güçlü çıkar ve daha çok konuşur.

En büyük zararı ise silahsız olan Türkmenler görecektir!!!!

Türkiye ise bu durumdan hiç bir şekilde kazançlı çıkamaz; sadece halkın öfkesi bir nebze yatışmş olur.

Ve bu durum, açıktan olmazsa bile, Türkiye`deki halk tepkisini azaltmak için ABD`nin bile işine gelebilir!!!!

İkinci senaryo ise Türk Ordusu`nun Kerkük`e kadar ilerlemesi olacaktır. Bu da Türkiye`nin uluslararası dengeleri açısından çok ciddi bir karardır; fakat tehlike kapıya dayanmadan bazen riskler de göze alınmalıdır!!!

Tabii ki, böyle bir kararın alınması güçlü bir siyasi irade ve koltuğuna düşkün olmayan bir yönetim ister..

Peki Türkiye`de var mıdır böyle bir siyasi irade?

Göstergeler böyle bir durum yansıtmıyor!!

Diyelim ki böyle bir irade oluştu ve bu tür askeri harekata karar verildi, neler olabilir?

Türk Ordusu Kerkük`ü ele geçirdiği anda dengeler değişir ve orada gücünü elde tutabilmesi için gereken desteği halktan da alır....

Ve Türkiye artık güçlü bir şekilde bütün taraflarla masaya oturur. ….

Kerkük ve bölgenin kaderini, bölge halkının adil bir şekilde paylaşılmasında söz sahibi olur.

Bu durumda Türkiye`nin gerek ABD gerekse, AB ile ilişkileri zedelenecektir;

Ancak unutmayalım ki dış politikalar menfaatler üzerine kuruludur ve menfaatler gerektirirse ilişkiler tekrar toparlanır.

Netekim Türkiye`nin o bölgelerde gözü olmadığı bilinmektedir; böyle bir harekat sadece gelecek olan tehditleri engellemek ve bölgedeki soydaşlarına sahip çıkmak amacını güdecektir.

Askeri harekat için siyasi irade oluşamazsa ve bu seneryolar gerçekleştirilemezse o zaman ne yapılmalı?
Eli kolu bağlı oturup, Barzani`nin tehditlerine karşı susarak, her şeyi Allah`a mı bırakmalı?

Tabii ki hayır… siyasi boyutta aktif olmak gerekir…..

Sadece meydanlarda konuşmalar yaparak veya notalar vererek değil, bilfiil stratejiler üretip bölgede savaşa girmeden harekete geçilmelidir.

Bu durumda ABD ile bazı konularda ortak hareket edilmeli..

Kuzey Irak`a ticari ve siyasi yaptırımlar uygulayarak, orada aktif bir şekilde söz sahibi olunmalı.

Gerekirse, Habur kapısı kapatılmalı ve Suriye ile anlaşarak, Kamişli üçgenini (Türkiye – Suriye – Irak üçgeni) serbest ticari bölge ilan etmeli ve Telafer`a bir kapı açmalı.

Kuzey Irak bölgesinin Kürtler ile Türkmenlerin eşit şekilde yönetime katılmalarını sağlamada Türkiye rol oynamalı.

Bölgenin himayesine Türkiye de katkıda bulunmalı…...

Sadece yetkililerin nutuk atmaları ile Türkiye’nin Irak`ta bir şeyler yapabileceği imkansız gözüküyor.....

Türkmen politikası sadece Kerkük üzerine odaklanmış olmamalı….

Çünkü bu durumda Telafer ve diğer bölgelerdeki yaşayan Türkleri Türkiye kendinden uzaklaştırmış olacaktır ve nitekim uzaklaştırma yoluna da gidiyor…!!!!!!!!!

Türkiye, Türkmenleri harcamak yerine daha da aktif ve milli menfaatler doğrultusunda kullanmalı ve yaklaşılmalıdır.

Türkmen cephesinin önemli ve kurulmasının yararlı olduğunu düşünüyorum; ancak amaca tam hizmet ettiğine de inanmıyorum.

Türkmen cephesinin kültürel ve siyasi boyutlarının yanısıra Türkmenlerden oluşan çok özel eğitilmiş askeri ve istihbarat kadrosunun da bulunması gerekiyor.

Böylece Türkmenler bir saldırıya uğradıkları zaman kendilerini savunmak olanağını bulacaklardır.

Ama bunun tersine Türkiye geçmişte peşmergeleri eğitti!!!

Türkiye`deki yetkililer hiçbir zaman bu konulara sıcak bakmadılar ve her seferinde ne lüzum var diyerek, Türkmenlere bir saldırı olursa Türk Ordusu var dediler.

Ama ne yazık ki gerçekler haklı olmadıklarını gösteriyor!!!!!

Durum ne olursa olsun hiçbir şey için geç kalınmış sayılmaz…

"öfkeyle kalkan zararla oturur!" deniyor.

Doğrudur, ancak zarar görmemek için koltuğa çakılıp kalınırsa da, atı alan Diyarbakır'ı geçer!!!!!!!

vendredi 20 avril 2007






When writing about all the different communities in Iraq: Iraqi Arabs, Iraqi Kurds and Iraqi Assyrians you use their proper names, so what is the reason you omit naming the TURKMENS???
Writing about Iraq and especially about Kerkuk -the Turkmens' capital city and main cultural centre - and not mentioning the Turkmens is simply ridiculous.

Comment to Justin Raimondo:
In your article " Hitchens' Kurdish Sojourn" you write: "now hundreds of thousands of Kurds are being moved back into Kurdistan, and many of them are heading for Kerkuk to reclaim land and homes."
"to reclaim"? you mean : "to confiscate" land and homes belonging to Turkmens, government buildings, barracks, football stadium etc...

For your information, the great majority of these Kurds (over 600.000) who are heading for Kerkuk have never set foot, never lived, never worked, never resided and never owned land or houses in this city.

April 20, 2007
Hitchens' Kurdish Sojourn

Kurdistan is 'perfectly swell' – if you aren't a dissident journalist
by Justin Raimondo

Christopher Hitchens "had a perfectly swell time" in "Iraqi Kurdistan," as he calls it, where he spent the Christmas holidays, and he tells us all about it in the current issue of Vanity Fair. He has always been sympathetic to the Kurdish cause, and to say that Hitchens lionizes the peshmerga would not be putting too it strongly. "I confess," he writes,"

"To a slight lump in the throat at revisiting the area and seeing thriving, humming towns with multiplying construction sites, billboards for overseas companies, Internet cafés, and a choice of newspapers. It's even reassuring to see the knockoff 'MaDonal,' with pseudo-golden arches, in the eastern city of Sulaimaniya, soon to be the site of the American University of Iraq, which will be offering not only an M.B.A. course but also, in the words of Azzam Alwash, one of its directors, 'the ideas of Locke, the ideas and writings of Paine and Madison.' Everybody knows how to snigger when you mention Jeffersonian democracy and Iraq in the same breath; try sniggering when you meet someone who is trying to express these ideas in an atmosphere that only a few years ago was heavy with miasmic decay and the reek of poison gas."

No one sniggers at Locke, Paine, Madison, and Jefferson, but only the uses to which they are put by defenders of a foreign policy that would have appalled each and every one of these worthies. Nor does anyone hereabouts snigger at Kurds who express liberal or even libertarian ideas: far from it. Yet when these ideas are applied to the political reality of Kurdistan, such expression could be dangerous for those who dare to speak. As Michael Rubin, hardly an opponent of the war, pointed out on the National Review blog recently:

"An Iraqi Kurd writes that ten days ago, KDP security forces kidnapped and tortured the journalist Nabaz Goran, a writer at the independent weekly Hawlati after he wrote critical articles about corruption in the ruling Barzani family (He sent photos which I do not pass along). Both the KDP and PUK have taken to targeting journalists from the only two independent papers, and there have been other instances of kidnapping and torture of anti-corruption activists at the hands of KDP security forces. Masrour Barzani, head of KDP intelligence and Masud Barzani's son, is the subject of one human rights law suit in Vienna for alleged abuses under his command in the case of Kamal Said Qadir, another whistleblower. Iraqi Kurdistan may seem like a success compared to the rest of Iraq but, when it comes to rule-of-law, it's important to recognize that the trajectory is, unfortunately, backwards."

I covered the horrific persecution of Kamal Said Qadir in this space over a year ago: also published Dr. Qadir's piece on the rather interesting history of the ruling Barzani clan, as well as an article by Aaron Glantz on his case. Hitchens doesn't deign to mention Qadir, the suppression of the free media, or the thuggish kleptocrats who have seized control of Kurdistan, controlling both the economy and political life by the sheer threat of intimidation. Kurdistan is peaceful because the pershmerga, valorized by Hitchens, have kept the population in subjection with the threat of brutal force. Dissidents – and nosy journalists who stick their noses into the shady business dealings of the twobig Mafia-like families who control the country – are likely to find themselves in jail, beaten to a pulp, or forced to flee abroad.

Mr. Goran's case didn't receive all that much publicity: a few Kurdish websites, Reporters Without Borders, Michael Rubin, and that's pretty much it. We certainly didn't hear anything from Senor Hitchens, who is too busy painting a rosy portrait of this overseas paradise of Lockean virtue, which he holds up as a vision of what might have been and might yet still be: "Kurdistan continues to demonstrate how things could have been different, and it isn't a place from which the West can simply walk away."

Kurdistan's peshmergabully-boys resemble their comrades in Hitchens' Hall of Heroes – the Kosovo Liberation Army. That drug-dealing, human trafficking gang of thugs has also seized control of a country – with the invaluable assistance of the Americans – and imposed its Mafia-like rule over a war-weary and beaten-down populace, intimidating critics and potential rivals into silence, shaking down middle class businessmen, and employing an army of young hoodlums to do their bidding, all of it made possible by multi-millions in military and economic aid from the U.S. government. "Liberated" Kosovo, under the heel of the KLA, has become a haven for smugglers, arms-dealers, drug kingpins, and traffickers in human bodies, and Kurdistan is swiftly following its example.

One of Kurdistan's chief exports is terrorism. On the long border with Turkey, the PKK (Kurdish Workers Party) conducts a campaign of bombings and assassinations that often reaches deep into Turkish territory, and has taken many thousands of lives over the years. The Turkish military has responded with its usual disregard for human rights – and human life – and the latest eruptions are threatening to break out into full-scale warfare. Another possible front in the next war may well be the Kurdish-Iranian border, across which "Pejak," the Kurdish insurgent group that seeks to "liberate" their Iranian brothers, regularly crosses in order to carry out attacks. Seymour Hersh recently reported in The New Yorker that both the U.S. and Israel are funding and supporting Pejak.

Hitchens doesn't want to know about any of this: it would interrupt the flow of his Panglossian narrative, filled, as it is, with ecstatic descriptions of the Kurdish national airline, monuments to fallen U.S. soldiers, women without headscarves, as well as tall tales of the alleged lack of "intercommunal mayhem."

This latter claim is astonishing, given the large number of Arabs and others who are being forcibly evicted from their homes, especially in Kirkuk, where a struggle for control of the city – the center [.pdf] of the region's oil riches – is currently in progress. Saddam Hussein moved in a large number of Arabs, years ago, to dilute the ethnic homogeneity of the area, in the belief that this would make it easier to keep Kurdistan under his thumb: now hundreds of thousands of Kurds are being moved back into Kurdistan, and many of them are heading for Kirkuk to reclaim land and homes. The Barzani and Talabani clans, which control the Kurdish Democratic Party and the Patriotic Union of Kurds, respectively, are actively encouraging this ethnic cleansing campaign in a bid to consolidate their power.

Perhaps what blinds Hitchens to the reality of Kurdistan as just another Third World kleptocracy is what he refers to in his piece as "this intoxicating 'birth of a nation' emotion" that gripped him for the duration of his trip. Certainly Hitchens is no stranger to intoxication. Yet one has to wonder if this is just a case of the old sandalista syndrome, in which a Western ideologue overlooks the more sinister aspects of his hosts' political arrangements to warble about the glories of the Kurdish workers paradise – or if something else is at work here.
Kurdish independence would be among the most unfortunate results of U.S. intervention and the subsequent break-up of Iraq for the simple reason that the Kurds would use their newly won nationhood to give sanctuary and support to Kurdish insurgencies from Turkey, to Syria, to Iran, and beyond – a strategy bound to provoke a military response from those governments. This is alreadystarting to happen.

Hitchens and his fellow neocons hail Kurdistan as a model for the rest of the region, and quite openly overlook its blemishes, knowing full well that its value – to them – lies in its status as a staging ground for the next round of wars in the Middle East. This is an eventuality most of the American people fear, and yet the neocons – especially Hitchens – rejoice at the prospect of it.
Like the sort of radical tourist who used to visit Sandinista Nicaragua (we used to call them sandalistas), and still sometimes go to Cuba, Hitchens returned from yet another trip to "liberated" Kurdistan full of praise. However, in a nod to the Gorans and Qadils – without, of course, having to mention their names or the details of their persecution – he writes:

"There is no need to romanticize the Kurds: they have their own history of clan violence and cruelty. But this flag at present represents the closest approximation to democracy and secularism that the neighborhood can boast."

So this is what Americans, in the end, came to Iraq to do: install in power a gang of thugs whose cruelty is relatively mild in comparison to others in a rough neighborhood, and whose "secularism" is perhaps encoded in their complete ignorance of Catholic "just war" theory. No, there is no need to romanticize the Kurds, unless, perhaps, you have an agenda that has nothing to do with Locke, Madison, Paine, or Jefferson, and everything to do with creating yet more trouble in that war-torn part of the world.

This article was published on

2007 UNESCO Mevlana Günleri


Despite Baghdad "Security" plan: increase in assassinations of Iraqi academics

Dirk Adriaensens, member of the BRussells Tribunal executive committee (19 April 2007)
The following is the complete translation of a document (copied underneath) issued by the Iraqi Association of University Professors and lecturers. The Association protests against the deterioration of the security situation in the universities, and the growing number of assassinations among academic personnel.

March 2007 was a deadly month for Iraq's academics, despite the "surge" of US troops, despite the different security plans. They all failed and will continue to fail, because, to put it in very simple words: the Iraqis don't want foreign occupation.

The new security plan of "gated communities" - whose genesis was in the Vietnam War - has been used - and has spectacularly failed - in the past. The system of "gating" areas under foreign occupation failed during the French war against FLN insurgents in Algeria and again during the American war in Vietnam. Israel has employed similar practices during its occupation of Palestinian territory - again, with little success", writes Robert Fisk in the Independent on April 11.
How much more useless blood must be spilled before the US understands that it has to leave Iraq? That it's time for them to go? How much more educators must be assassinated before the international community fulfils its duty and denounces the illegal occupation of Iraq?


Date : 7.4.2007


As part of the continuing and unceasing criminal attacks on university lecturers and Iraqi education facilities, terrorist groups have carried out the killing and attempted assassinations a number of university lecturers. They have assassinated the following :

1- Dr. Ridha Abdul Hussein Al Qureaishi
Mustansiriya University
Assistant to Dean of The Management and Economics College
Kidnapped on Wednesday 28.3.2007 and found assassinated on Thursday 29th March 2007.

2 - Prof. Dr. Khalid Tariq Al Naid
Assistant ot Dean of Medical School for Higher Studies
Al Nahrain University
Kidnapped on Wednesday 28th March and found assassinated on Thursday 29th March 2007 in The Morgue.

3 - Professor Khalid AL Hassan
Secretary to Dean of Political Science College
Baghdad University
Found assassinated in March 2007

4 - Dr. Munthir Ahmed Al Ani
Found assassinated with his wife and 2 sons , by the militias, in Al Seydiyya District on Saturday 31st March 2007

5 - The Physicist , Thair Ahmed Jebr,
Physics Department
College of Science
El Nehrain University
Martyred Thursday 5/4/2007
in the terrorist bombing of Al Baghdadiya Satellite Station

6 - The Lecturer, Ameer Mekki El Zihairi
Technology Institute of Baghdad
Assassinated March 2007

7 - Prof. Dr. Sami Sitrak
Prof. of English in The College of Law
Al Nahrain University
Was acting Dean of the College of Law, since the resignation of the Dean after an attempted terrorist attack as well as after the assassination of the 3 Law Professors on the 29th March 2007

We hold The Iraqi Government and The Occupation Forces responsible for the deterioration of the security situation in the universities, and we hold them responsible for the targeting of the lecturers, the educational and scientific facilities, the students and the staff. We demand that the Iraqi Government takes up its responsibilities and orders a serious investigation and takes all necessary measurers to protect the lecturers, students and universities. We ask them to protect this important aspect of the Iraqi Society as well as to expose those who are committing these ugly crimes, which have increased exponentially as a result of the total absence of law enforcement, the lack of investigation into these crimes, and as a result of the cover-up at times.

Signed by

Dr. Ahmed Kamal Ahmed
Head of The Association

jeudi 19 avril 2007

OIL over troubled waters

The continuing violence in Iraq shakes its parliament, as it considers a made-in-Washington oil law, reports Nermeen Al-Mufti from Baghdad

Two suicide bombings, one on Al-Sirafiya Bridge and the other in the Iraqi parliament add to Iraq's tragic toll. Al-Sirafiya Bridge is one of the oldest bridges in Baghdad and one of the most splendid in the world. A week ago, a truck driven by a suicide bomber exploded and wrecked that bridge. Arab and Western media, perhaps insensitively, pointed out that the bridge was a link between the Sunni area of Al-Waziria and the Shia neighbourhood of Al-Itifiya. So while the Baghdad inhabitants were doing their best to overcome sectarian tensions, the media seemed to be fuelling those tensions. Now Baghdad has lost one of its most beautiful sites, just as it lost museums, libraries and statues in the past.

Shortly after the bridge was bombed, a man wearing an explosive belt blew himself up in the cafeteria of the Iraqi parliament, killing and wounding dozens, including the deputy for the National Dialogue Front, Mohamed Awad. The incident posed questions over Operation Imposing Law (OIL), now in its third month. How can a man wearing an explosive belt and carrying an explosive briefcase, infiltrate the fortified Green Zone? Anyone going into the Green Zone passes as a matter of routine through several checkpoints and electronic gates.

Parliamentarian Mohamed Al-Deini says that mobile phone networks ceased to operate one hour before the suicide bombing. The Iraqi authorities had taken over the security in the parliament only a short while earlier. Now the occupation forces say that they may have to take back control of the parliament's security.

The day following the bombing, the parliament held an extraordinary "Defiance Session". Television screens showed deputies wiping their tears and others putting wreaths on the seat of the slain parliamentarian. The Iraqi public greeted the incident with scepticism. Umm Hussein, a teacher, says that, "Iraq in general, and Baghdad in particular, is witnessing suicide bombings in which dozens of civilians are killed everyday, but the Iraqi parliament didn't hold an extraordinary session over those bombings. We've seen no tears in the eyes of our parliamentarians before."

While the US is planning to retake control of parliament's security, the spokesman for the pro-Sadr parliamentarians, Nasr Al-Rabiyi, says that the six pro-Sadr ministers intend to withdraw from the government in protest against the absence of a timetable for the withdrawal of foreign forces, though. The 30 pro-Sadr parliamentarians will stay in parliament.

Adnan Al-Deleimi, leader of the Reconciliation Bloc in parliament, who stands to lose his immunity over charges related to violence in the country, says that an armed group has broken into his house in Al-Jamaah section of Baghdad. Al-Fadila Parliamentarian Hassan Al-Shamri told a parliamentary session that Deputy Hussein Al-Sannid, a close aid of Nuri Al-Maliki, warned of a plan to kill one of its senior members, Basra Governor Mohamed Al-Waeli. A few days ago, several Shia parties in Basra marched in the city streets calling for the dismissal of Al-Waeli. Basra is Iraq's second largest city and has several major oil fields.Over the past two years, the city witnessed clashes among various armed groups involved in the smuggling of oil.

Ata Qassem Al-Musawi, spokesman for OIL, said that the Iraqi and US forces have killed 5,215 gunmen, wounded over 1,000, and arrested 1,000 in the course of their work. Yet, on the 60th day since the start of OIL, suicide bombers killed over 70 civilians in Baghdad, and some 22 unidentified bodies were found across the country, including six in Falluja and six in Mosul.

The group calling itself the "Islamic State of Iraq", which abducted 20 policemen in February after Sabrin Al-Janabi (not her real name) appeared on television and gave account of her rape by Iraqi police forces, recently gave the government 48 hours to release all women detainees and hand over those suspected of raping Sabrin.

Prime Minister Al-Maliki had ordered an investigation into the case, and the committee responsible actually reported its findings, the only one of hundreds of such committees to do so, though the findings were clearly not enough to satisfy the "Islamic State of Iraq". The fate of the 20 abductees is still unknown. Speaking of committees, the government has just formed two fact-finding committees into the bombings at the bridge and the parliament.

With two months left before the deadline set by the US administration for the passage of an oil law in Iraq, Issam Al-Jalabi, minister of petroleum in Iraq between 1987 and 1990 and one of the world's top oil experts told Al-Ahram Weekly that the seminars he has held outside Iraq are the reason why the law wasn't submitted to the parliament last March as scheduled. The law was supposed to pass at the end of May, but the parliament hasn't dared to table the law, which deals with the distribution of oil fields, the signing of contracts, the distribution of revenues, and the organisation of the petroleum ministry and the national petroleum company.

Many Iraqi oil experts believe that President Bush himself is sponsoring the law. The original draft of the law was written in English and the Arabic translation is full of grammatical and idiomatic errors. Al-Jalabi sent a letter to parliament, bearing the signature of 61 oil experts, which points out the drawbacks of the law. If passed, the law would deprive Iraq of its natural wealth, especially if the foreign companies were given the right to operate fields already producing oil, for they would be making profits without bringing in new investment to the country. However, there are certain Iraqi officials who want the law passed, arguing that it would ensure a "fair distribution of oil revenues among all Iraqis".

The parliament did discuss a document intending to get the international community to pledge funding for the rebuilding Iraq in return for Iraqi pledges scheduled to be signed soon in a conference at Sharm El-Sheikh. Some deputies expressed optimism over the document saying that it would "resolve the troubles of the country". Other deputies expressed their opposition to the document, saying that it should be discussed under provisions of international treaties in Article 64 of the Iraqi constitution. These provisions would allow the document to pass only if supported by two-thirds of the parliament. "Some people in the government want to sidestep the regulations and pass the document without going through the necessary committees," one of the parliamentarians opposing the documents said.

The question of Kirkuk is far from being resolved. Kurdish Minister Mohamed Ihsan said at a press conference that anyone obstructing the referendum on the Kurdish plan to annex the city would "pay a dear price". Meanwhile Turhan Kattana, political adviser of the Turkoman national movement, says that had the Kurds been sure Kirkuk was theirs, they wouldn't be in such a rush to hold the referendum.

Al-Ahram Weekly Online : Located at:

mercredi 18 avril 2007


Dr Ersat Hürmüzlü is the author of "The Turkmen Reality In Iraq" and "The Turkmen and Iraqi Homeland" published by Kerkük Vakfi . See

The Demographic Situation of Kirkuk
And Iraqi Constitution
Conference 10-11 April 2007

By Erşat Hürmüzlü

The demographic structure of the Turkmens in Iraq is unlike those of the Arabs, Kurds and other minorities. The tribal system, with its advantages and disadvantages, is rooted among Arabs and Kurds, rendering blind loyalty to the tribe, granting tribal chiefs absolute powers, which led to the birth of the feudal system removing debate from decision-making and creating a lack of equal opportunities.

The Turkmens, however, are more family oriented, having intimate feelings for descendants from a grand grandfather who held the same family name. The family system, however, did not prevent any member from getting his share of respect, honor and fame due to a religious, academic or professional status.

This very difference, which was neglected by many researchers, may be a reason for the diminished role of the Turkmen in the structure of the Iraqi society.

However, there are other reasons behind this issue, mainly the attempts to change the reality of the Turkmen existence in Iraq in order to annex Kirkuk into a specific region.

What we can see from either Kurdish political parties or from the publications of the Saddam Hussein regime in Iraq is that they were in agreement in only one subject, which is the denial of the actual size of this component of Iraq.

Let me give you one example, The Patriot Union of Kurdistan web site has published very recently an article adopted from their own newspaper “Kurdistani Nwe” saying:

We have found a document in the archives of the Foreign Affairs of Britain which depicted the makeup of the inhabitants of Kirkuk in the year 1919. At that time and according to this document the inhabitants of Kirkuk were 91 229, 75 thousand of which were Kurds.

In fact, the official documents of the National Archives in London, in which I have personally researched and studied, show clearly that the British delegation to Lausanne conference in early twentieth of the last century headed by Lord Curzon, had submitted their own figures which states clearly, and although the figures were questionable, that the Kurds were less than half in Kirkuk.

The cause of this disinformation was because an “error” was made in one of the Kurdish writers “Dr. Nuri Talabani” book, published in Arabic, saying that the division of the ethnicities in Kirkuk was as follows: 10,000 Arabs, 35,000 Turkmen, 75,000 Kurds, 600 Kildaniens and 1400 Jews. The total had been published as 92000. The Kurdish participants in this panel have distributed an article of Dr. Talabani, who is mentioning the same figures. I thank them because unintentionally supported our stand.
(Note: Arabic text missing here)

Simple arithmetic will clearly yield the total to be 122,000, and not 92,000. The reason was that in actual figures the number of the Kurds was 45,000 and not 75,000. That means that even with these false figures the Kurds constituted less than half of the whole governorate and not the central city.
(Note: chart missing here)

Why have we considered the figures submitted by the British delegation and Lord Curzon as false?

In his memorandum to the Head of the Turkish Delegation, Ismet Inonu, during the open sessions of the conference, Curzon claimed that the Turkmen population within Mosul Region was 66,000. He claimed also that these figures belong to the researches done by the British officers visited each and every settlement in the region, sometimes even on horseback or by any means necessary to count the people properly in 1919.

However we have discovered the same figures in the report of Wikie Young, one of the staff of British Consulate in Mosul, who clearly states his own estimates by saying that the inhabitants of Kirkuk at that time was 40,000, save 3000 non Muslims, the rest (i.e. 37,000) were all Turkmen.

He adds 1,500 Turkmen living in Tuzhurmato, 10,000 Turkmen in Telafer and quarter of Erbil inhabitants who were as much as 60000(i.e. 15000) were Turkmen. He also mentions that the all Bayat tribe people were Turkmen, say 2500 at that time. The total is 66000. (The Report of Mr.Young dated 5th.April 1910, The National Archives, File No: FO 371/1008).

If we look at the figures presented by the Turkish delegation at that time, we see that the Turks were not claiming that they have collected these figures by officers riding on horsebacks, but from the official records of the state which used to be registered by each part of the Ottoman Empire. These figures were registered before the war when there was no reason to exaggerate the numbers at all. The figures mentioned in this statement show the Turkmen at 146,000. The same statements show the Kurds at that time at 263,000. If we consider the estimations made in the Oil for Food programme of the United Nations and the percentage adopted in the new Iraqi budgets we see that the Kurds are at 17% of the Iraqi population. Now, 17% of 25 million should be slightly more than 4 million. If we consider in the absence of a real census in Iraq that the Turkmen are above 2 million, we see that really the figures of the Turkish delegation were accurate.
(Note: photo of text missing here)

The British authorities never denied that the majority of Kirkuk is Turkmen. This was even stated in 1952 in a report from the British Ambassador in Iraq Mr. J.M. Trulbil, addressed to the British Minister of Foreign Affairs, Anthony Eden, about the former’s visit to Kirkuk, Suleimaniya and Erbil during the period from 10-14 May 1952, he stated:
“The issue of minorities in Iraq is based on the relationship between the Arabs and non-Arabs, and this relation is evident now than ever before. The coexistence and harmony is clearly demonstrated in Kirkuk, for Turkmens constitute the majority of the population in that region and they live with Arabs and Kurds side by side”. (The British National Archives, London, File No. F.O/173/98738, report of the Oriental Dept. E/1018/2).

We know that the accurate figures of the Turkmen announced by the Iraqi republic after the military coup in 1958 show the real stand as 567 000 (as stated in the report of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Policy watch No. 735, March 27, 2003). If we adopt and again in the absence of accurate census, the growth rates of Iraq in general which based on Iraqi population growth rates being approximately 3.2% throughout the 50s, 60s and 70s; 2.6% in the 80s; 2.4% from 1990-92, and 2.3% in 1993 as per the figures quoted in the 1993 Unified Economic Report published by the Arab Fund for Economics and Social Development; the Arab Monetary Fund, and the Arab Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, then we can calculate this figures nowadays as more than 2 millions. This fact is in conformity with the above mentioned report stating the percentage of the Turkmen population in Iraq as 9%. In the present we are talking about 25 million living in Iraq, 9% of which is 2,250,000.

Especially in Kirkuk, the situation was always in this regard, until recent attempts began to severely change the ethnic stance of Kirkuk and its surrounding areas. Even the Kurds have accepted this reality during the negotiations between the Iraqi Kurds and the government. We see in David McDowell’s book, A Modern History of Kurds, İ.B. Tauris, New York 1996, the following statement:

“Mulla Mustafa (Barzani) accused the government of resettling Arabs in the contrasted areas Kirkuk, Khaniqin and Sinjar and told government that he would not accept the census results if the indicate is an Arab majority. He also dismissed the offer of 1965 census, which he said forged. When the government proposed to apply 1957 census to Kirkuk, Mulla Mustafa refused it, since this was bound to show that the Turkmens, although outnumbered in the governorate as a whole was still predominant in Kirkuk town.”


I have presented tens of the documents including the official maps and reports of the British government, researchers and authors, which none of them are Turks or Turkmen, stating the ethnic reality of Kirkuk as Turkmen.

In dispute, the majority of the Kurdish authors persistently deny the extent of the historical Turkmen presence in Kirkuk; referring to Shemseddin Sami’s Kamus al Alam (Dictionary of the Individuals) as a factual and reputable authority. It is, in fact, an Ottoman encyclopedia of history and geography which makes the highly-dubious claim that three quarters of Kirkuk’s population are Kurds, the remainder being made up of Turkmen, Arabs and other ethnic groups.

Almost all of these authors refer to what they regard as the most authoritative and reliable sources in this regard. They always mention Shamseddin Sami’s work already referred to, as an author they describe as a Turkish historian and traveler holding no particular allegiance to the Kurds, who had visited Kirkuk and written, according to them, an accurate account of the area and its inhabitants.

As a matter of fact, Shamseddin Sami was not Turkish. He was born in Albania in 1266 (AH) (1849 G) where he received his early education in the Greek school at Yanya, and learned Turkish, Persian and Arabic from a private tutor. He later moved to Istanbul where he launched a newspaper ‘Sabah.’ He then turned to writing fiction, among his early stories being ‘The Love Story of Talat and Fitnat,’ which openly questioned Ottoman marriage traditions and ethics. He followed this with ‘The Revolution of Kawa, the Blacksmith,’ which depicted the hero’s struggle against the dictator, Dhahhak. The reaction of the Turkish authorities was to exile him to Tripoli, but he eventually returned to Istanbul where he devoted his time to writing language texts and works of non-fiction.

Ironically, Sami was not a traveler at all, never having once visited Kirkuk or Baghdad despite writing knowledgeably and authoritatively about both cities. The reference to his major work, referred to above, in the Islamic Encyclopedia clearly states that he compiled it from information he obtained in Bouillet’s ‘Dictionnaire universel d’histoire et de géographie’, various Arab and Persian sources and the largely inaccurate reports and records of government officials. His credibility is also seriously undermined by his references to Baghdad as a ‘Turkish’ city where, he claimed, mainly Turkish was spoken, with Arabic being relegated to second place.

Last statement

In a debate, one of the colleagues was mentioning that the Turkmen always exaggerate their numbers in Iraq and that they do not exceed, as he thinks 7-8 hundred thousands.

In my answer I have mentioned that the natural rights of any individual in any community, are totally independent of the latter’s size or strength, in accordance with the principles laid down by the International Declaration of Human rights (and, in addition, upheld by the terms of the aforementioned Iraqi constitution, the temporary constitution which succeeded it and finally the new permanent constitution).

Even if the testimony of Kurdish writers or others like the said colleague is accepted as valid (though they have generally tended to grossly underestimate the numbers of Turkmen in the Kirkuk region) the fact has to be recognized that the Turkmen population actually exceeds that of several entire independent, internationally recognized nations, for instance in The Arabian gulf, in Europe and in Africa.

I have reminded this friend who resides in Geneva, Switzerland to have a look at the Swiss currency, the Swiss Frank. He would see four native languages on it, including Romansh who at time did not exceed 30,000 people, but had 5 members in Parliament in Bern, not because they were a minority, rather because they had the capability and qualities to hold the seat in the parliament.

We wish to affirm our views as Iraqi Turkmens toward the ethnicities issue in Iraq adopted from the Turkmen Charter, in which we believe: It is the firm belief of the Turkmen that the ideal solution for the ethnic problems in Iraq will come to fruition only when the process builds on a solid foundation that embraces all the ethnicities and groups and considers them all as first class citizens and partners in a single nation. The selection of a free and sovereign united government system should be according to the resolve and free will of the Iraqis.

There should be no attempt to push aside any ethnic group or sect of people and withstand from exaggerating the role of one group over another because of certain exceptional state of affairs.

The Turkmen citizens affirm their respect for a comprehensive decision by the Iraqis that should take into consideration all the Iraqi ethnic groups who should exercise equal rights in shouldering similar duties in the regions that they inhabit and, that this should be conditional on the credible and just demographic census under the supervision of the United Nations after eliminating the last attempt to change this situation in favor of one group.

The Iraqi Turkmen predict a united, democratic, pluralistic and parliamentary Iraq, in which the government will be chosen by a free and credible election according to international standards, and will not be subjected to narrow-minded ethnic determinations in the distribution of authority or governmental positions. In the public service, the Turkmen believe that efficiency, qualifications, experience, and clear vision should become the standard.

Some people talk sometimes about the rosy futures and urge the people not to live in the past but to look forward. May I suggest here that we should specifically in this subject go backward to the past. To adopt and implement the norms accepted in 1948 in the International Declaration of Human Rights. Moreover to go back to the Iraqi constitution of 1925, which I believe was more moderate and acceptable than all the constitutions which followed, including the so-called “permanent constitution”. Let me share with you what I have counted in the 2005 constitution. There are references in this to Sunni, Shea, Arab, Arabic, Kurds, Kurdistan, Turkmen, Assyrians, Kildaniens, Yazidies, Sabia, Armenians, Muslims and Christians 25 times. While such a reference in 1925 constitution is only one and it is related to the official language of Iraq provided that the other languages are also respected.

Now we declared what we prefer as Turkmen of Iraq, I wish however to express how anxious we are about the situation in Kirkuk and other Turkmen inhabited areas in Iraq. Let me remind you that, at the opening ceremony of the General Assembly of the United Nations 2005, the Greek Cypriot president Papadopoulos expressed his opinion about how to solve the Turkish Cypriot-Greek Cypriot dispute, by saying that the Turks should dropped into the rest of Cyprus. He used the ward “Osmosis”.By this, the plan was to melt the Turks into the other part.

I am afraid that, what was planned in Cyprus is nowadays implemented and taking place in Turkmen areas of Iraq. “Osmosis” is taking place to annul the Turkmen presence in Iraq and annex Kirkuk to a specific region.

We urge the free world to stop this tragedy.