Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Iraqi Turkmen complain of Kurdish attacks

Tuesday, March 14, 2006
ANKARA - Turkish Daily News

The Iraqi Turkmen Front (ITC) representative office in Ankara, in a written statement released on Monday, protested attacks in a Turkmen village near the disputed northern Iraqi province of Kirkuk that they said were committed by a unit of the Iraqi National Guard (ING), which was “entirely composed of the Kurdish peshmergas from the PUK [Patriotic Union of Kurdistan] and the KDP [Kurdistan Democratic Party].”
The ITC said that the attack took place in the Turkmen village of Yengija, approximately 90 kilometers south of Kirkuk, last Friday.
“The ING raided the Turkmen houses and killed two Turkmen civilians in front of their families. A 13-year-old disabled teenager [Salman Akbar Hameed] and a 35-year-old [Kadir Mohammed Uryan] were both killed,” the statement said.
“It is strongly believed that the raid was revenge on the Turkmen in Yengija who had voted for the ITC list [630 votes] during the last Iraqi elections of Dec. 15, 2005. The Yengija village population is estimated at around 15,000 people and they are all Turkmen and supporters of the ITC,” the statement said.
The ITC, an umbrella group for various Iraqi Turkmen groups, was actually not able to achieve success in the Dec. 15 polls in Iraq and managed to win only one seat in Iraq's 275-member National Assembly.
The ITC emphasized in the statement, in which the casualties of the attack in Yengija were explained in detail, that the Yengija attack was a one of “many atrocities against the Turkmen in northern Iraq and particularly in the Turkmen regions of Kirkuk, Tuz Hurmatu, Taze Hurmatu, Altun Kopru and many other Turkmen regions,” that were carried out by the ING.
“Since the U.S. forces handed over the security issue to the Iraqi forces, the instability has increased enormously. Taking advantage of the security transfer, the Iraqi National Guard [ING] forces have carried out many atrocities against Turkmen,” the statement said, and called on the U.S. led-coalition forces “to find a solution and put an end to the Kurdish atrocities.”
PUK representative in Ankara Bahros Galali speaking to the Turkish Daily News, avoided commenting on the ITC statement, saying that he had no information on the existence of such an attack. He, however, strongly rejected the expression of “Kurdish peshmergas” used by the ITC, emphasizing that: “Now all Iraqis, including Kurds and Turkmen, are members of the Iraqi army, they are Iraqi soldiers, but are not separate armed groups based on ethnic origins.”