Thursday, February 23, 2006

Talabani: Autonomy for Turkmens in Kurdistan!!

Turhan Tisinli,
Turkmens cannot be quieted by vague promises, and definitely cannot willingly be a part of a country that calls itself by an ethnic name like that of "Kurdistan"; and be partners with a people who have been planning to change their ethnic identity, as recent history tells us about Erbil.People who would like to be partners with Turkmens must first of all stop all the rhetoric about Kurdishness of Turkmen Land in general, Kerkuk in particular. Kerkuk being "Jerusalem of Kurds" (as if Turkmens are the occupying Jews), and similar absurd and unfounded claims by Kurdish parties must stop immediately, all the "peshmerge" forces must be withdrawn from Turkmen Land (Turkmen Eli).Turkmens must be recognized as an equal partner whether in Iraq or whatever unit the Turkmens are going to end up in. My heart is still bleeding for what happened in Telafer to hundreds of innocent people.Ironically, we Turkmens instead of being unified against the unrelenting, and ever increasing threats to our very existence, we are still squabbling about who should have been the "emperor" of the Muslim Nation some 1400 years ago. Unaware of the (successful) attempts to wipe us out of existence, we are still flogging ourselves for our masters' losing the chance to come to power then, all the while we are subjected to life-and-death issues facing us in the presence, this minute to be precise).All the non-Turkmens who were resettled in the Turkmen cities and towns were resettled there for one and only one reason: robbing the Turkmens of their claim to their cities and towns and natural resources, alienate them, and eventually dissolve their presence.Since the construction of Iraq (some 80 years ago), Racist regimes of Baghdad as well as racist Kurdish parties raced with each other to Arabize, Kurdify, or simply "de-Turkmenize" Turkmen cities and towns. Even the defunct IPC resettled the Assyrians and the Armenians near the oil fields and installations and employed them with generous salaries all the while the rightful inhabitants of Kerkuk suffered from poverty and neglect.As the site of one of the few giant oil producing fields of the world, Kerkuk is still a slum-looking town, which lacks the infrastructure it deserves for being the sole life line of Iraq for many decades. Even a simple university was seen too much for Kerkuk. Talking to a Turkmen friend about the issue in the 1970's he said it is good that they didn't, because it would be a good pretext to bring more Arabs to the city, as was the case with Sulaymaniyya University, that was used to introduce Arabs to that Kurdish city.Kerkuk was home for one of the biggest military bases in the country (the Second Brigade, that helped the Kurds in the famous 1959 massacre of Turkmens in Kerkuk) that brought thousands of Arabs and Kurds to the city who eventually chose it as their permanent address.Kerkuk in particular, and Turkmen Eli in general, unwillingly and due to political naivety of Turkmens (who were not allowed to have leaders from themselves), absorbed thousands upon thousands of non-Turkmens that were brought there by British oil industry (Iraqi Petroleum Company), army bases, and other governmental establishments, not because the city lacked local workers, but due to conscious and covert plans to dilute the Turkmen concentration and gradually get rid of them.I appeal to humanity to stop rewarding the Kurds (who undoubtedly suffered a lot in the hands of past Iraqi regimes) at the expense of Turkmens, who suffered many extermination attempts by the same regimes, and ironically at the hands of Kurdish "peshmerge" themselves too.