Saturday, October 15, 2005

For or against, Iraqis vote on country's future

...."This constitution is against the unity of Iraq. I will vote 'No'. I want Kurds and Arabs and Turkmen to live together in a new Iraq, but this constitution will divide us," he said.

...Other Kirkuk residents were less happy. "I rejected the constitution because it didn't look after the rights of Turkmen and it was devoted only to Kurds and Arabs," said 50-year-old Shahiq Namiq, a member of Iraq's Turkmen minority.

Friday, October 14, 2005

UN not involved in amending Iraqi constitution - spokesman

UNITED NATIONS, Oct 13 (KUNA) -- The UN was not involved in the negotiations that led to the latest changes to the Iraqi draft constitution, but the UN Special envoy for Iraq Ashraf Qazi has been kept informed of the developments all along, UN spokesman Stephan Dujarric said on Thursday.

Text of proposed Iraqi constitution

The following is the full text of the draft constitution being voted on by Iraqis in Saturday's referendum. It was translated from the Arabic by the United Nation's Office for Constitutional Support, and the translation was approved by the Iraqi government.

Iraqis set to vote, push for change

The Kurds, who make up about 15 percent of the population, view this as an opportunity to form a nucleus of a Kurdish state in the region. They are working to consolidate their hold on the northern city of Kirkuk with its rich oil fields. Already they have evicted more than 100,000 ethnic Arabs and Turkmen from the traditionally mixed city. The Kurds' marriage to the Shiites is one of convenience, which they hope will assure them a large degree of autonomy, if not total separation from Iraq.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Kirkuk's volatile mix to test Iraq's referendum

13 Oct 2005 13:28:17 GMT
Source: ReutersBy Aref Mohamed

Turkmens of Iraq protestors from all over the world says NO to the dratf

KIRKUK, Iraq, Oct 13 (Reuters) - Iraq's government and its U.S. backers hope Saturday's referendum on a new constitution will help unite the country, but nowhere is the challenge of healing ethnic and sectarian tensions more palpable than Kirkuk.
The city, perched over one of the world's great lakes of oil, is claimed by three competing ethnic groups -- Kurds, Turkish-speaking Turkmen and Arabs.
With two days to go before the referendum, many voters in Kirkuk say they will cast their ballots purely along ethnic and communal lines as a way to safeguard their groups' interests.
Such an outcome does not bode well for the future of Kirkuk, where debate on its final status has been set aside until after a constitution is ratified and where observers say ethnic rivalries make it a potential flashpoint of a civil war.
"All Kurds will vote in favour of this constitution, including me, because it is the result of our struggle," said Zaman Khorshid, a Kurdish teacher.
"It will guarantee the rights of Kurds and it is the best accomplishment for the Kurdish movement, which gave hundreds of thousands of martyrs in order to reach to this day."
The Kurds, who accuse Saddam Hussein of 'Arabising' Kirkuk with Arab migrants from the south, want the city to be part of their autonomous region of Kurdistan, which begins just 20 km (12 miles) to the north and west of the city.
Arabs in turn accuse Kurds of packing the city with their ethnic kin to skew a forthcoming census, and of forcing out non-Kurds. They firmly reject claims that Kirkuk is part of Kurdistan.
Echoing fears shared by many Sunni Arabs across the country that the charter will split up Iraq, Mohammed Khalil said he will vote against the constitution, which is backed by most Shi'ites and Kurds.
"We will definitely take part in the referendum and we have called on the people to participate. But we will reject the constitution because it stands for sectarianism and it will divide Iraq," said Khalil, who is a member of the local council.
Tariq al-Sairfachi, a Turkmen engineer, also said he will vote 'No'. The Turkmen also lay claim to historical primacy in the city of one million.
"I'll participate and say a thousand times 'No' simply because (the constitution) did not meet the ambitions of Iraq's third largest group, the Turkmen," Sairfachi said.
"Turkmen will reject this constitution."
While most people in Kirkuk plan to vote, some say they will boycott the ballot completely. Bahman Abdul Qadir, a Sunni Arab religious school student, said there was no point in voting because of foreign interference in Iraq.
"I won't take part in this mockery as long as I live. The occupier writes for us and invites us to vote for it," he said. "They (occupiers) will pass what they want whether we will vote 'Yes' or 'No'."

Two senior officials from ethnic Turkmen parties were abducted

UDAIM - Two senior officials from ethnic Turkmen parties were abducted on Wednesday in Udaim, south of Kirkuk.
Police captain Said Ahmed said Kana'an Shakir, the secretary general of the Independent Turkmen Movement, and Hashim Ali, an official in the Turkmen Front, were kidnapped with nine of their bodyguards near Udaim on their way from Baghdad.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Press Release: United Nations UN's Top Iraq Envoy Discusses Concerns About Voting Process With Kirkuk Local Official

New York, Oct 9 2005 10:00PM
The senior United Nations envoy to Iraq today discussed concerns about the upcoming constitutional referendum with a local official from Kirkuk.
One day after meeting with delegations representing Turkman and Arab communities in the area, Ashraf Qazi, Secretary-General Kofi Annan's Special Representative, conveyed their concerns to Hamid Majid Mousa, a member of the Transitional National Assembly Constitutional Committee and Chair of Kirkuk Normalization Committee.
Mr. Qazi discussed with Mr. Mousa the Arab and Turkman delegations' worry about the excessive numbers of newly registered voters in Kirkuk and the surrounding areas, according to the UN Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI).
Mr. Mousa updated the UN envoy on the situation in Kirkuk, and agreed with him on the need for vigorous measures to ascertain the veracity of the vote in the 15 October Referendum on the Draft Constitution, as well as elections to be held in December. Both men reiterated the importance of adequate political representation for the various communities.
Mr. Qazi restated UNAMI's continued commitment to upholding internationally accepted norms of human rights and ensuring a free, inclusive and transparent political process.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Iraq: Democracy, Civil War, or Chaos?

... When the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan subsidized the distribution of Kurdish flags to mixed communities south of Kirkuk, most Turkmen responded by raising Shi ...

Turkmen In Canada Protested the Draft

In the name of Peace, Freedom and Justice for all Iraqi Turkmens, Kids, Youth, Teens women and man all where together, Iraqi Turkmen people of Canada are came together for a Protesto Demonstration against the new Constitution in Iraq, and were more than prode of calling and screaming to sppurt all Turkmen in Iraq infront of US consulate general in Toronto - Canada.