Saturday, June 24, 2006

Status of Kirkuk is for Iraqis to decide

US insisting on hands-off policy on Kirkuk
Friday, June 23, 2006
WASHINGTON -Turkish Daily News

Despite warnings by Turkey that an ongoing Kurdification of northern Iraq's oil-rich and multiethnic city of Kirkuk would likely lead to a major conflict, the United States has said it would not intervene.
Asked to comment on remarks made by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan that Kirkuk should be given a special status within Iraq, U.S. State Department deputy spokesman Adam Ereli made it clear at his daily press briefing on Wednesday that Washington at this point would continue with its hands-off policy on the matter. "The status of Kirkuk is...contınue

Croatian ambassador hosts national day reception

ANKARA - Turkish Daily News
Saturday, June 24, 2006
Croatian Ambassador to Turkey Gordan Bakota hosted a reception on Tuesday celebrating Croatian national day at the Ankara Hilton Hotel.
The ambassador personally greeted each guest at the door.
Among the guests were Air Forces intelligence chief Gen. Erol Özgil, Iraqi Turkmen Front's (ITC) Turkey representative Ahmet Muratlı and Foreign Ministry Deputy Undersecretary Ahmet Acet as well as the ambassadors of Iraq, Japan, Estonia, Bangladesh, China, Libya, Greece, Uzbekistan, Belgium, Belarus, France, the Czech Republic, Turkmenistan, Israel, Serbia, Hungary, Slovenia, Albania, Sudan, Romania, Slovakia, Yemen, Germany, Spain, Canada, Palestine, Lebanon, Tunisia, South Africa, Macedonia, Algeria, Moldova, Argentina, Egypt and Brazil and a number of guests including military attachés.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

ITF's suggestion of Turkmen Federation

Yeniçağ 21.06.2006

Mr. Ahmet Muratlı who says that they are spending great efforts to prevent Kirkuk from falling into the hands of the peshmerge, revealed they had a “Turkmen Federation” proposal ready in their bags After articles were appended to the Iraqi Constitutional Law restricting the rights of the Turkmen, it is a matter of further concern for the Turkmen that efforts to increase the peshmerge population in Kirkuk in readiness for the referendum to be held next year is carried out with international support. The peshmerge who claim to consist of up to 17 percent of the population of Iraq demand a federation to pave the way for a Kurdish state.
We will not divide Iraq
Mr. Ahmet Muratlı, who says that the Turkmen might also request a federation, explained that they did not defend the unitary structure of Iraq and the ITF Chairman had a proposal for a “Turkmen Federation” in his bag. Although Mr.Muratlı claimed that the first steps to divide Iraq would not be taken by the Turkmen, he said, “the ITF would never cease to defend the freedoms and legal rights of Iraqi Turks”.
Mr.Muratlı explained that the activities carried out recently to target and kill the Turkmen in the Turkmeneli region had been victimized according to a specific plan and continued by saying “The target is to intimidate the Turkmen of Kirkuk and turn the Turkmen population into a minority group”.
The Peshmerge’s deceitful plan.
Mr. Muratlı explained the plans to decrease the Turkmen population until the referendum to be held in 2007 by saying: "Firstly the peshmerge who had been persuaded to migrate in accordance with article 58 will be resettled in their previous domains. According to official records this total does not exceed 11.000 persons. However, 350.000 persons have settled in Kirkuk. The region is being populated from other countries." Mr.Muratlı reminded that the subject of the boundaries of the region depicted in the Iraqi Constitutional Law as “Kurdistan Regional Administration” was debatable and within this scope not only Kirkuk, but Mosul as well would become a matter of dispute. Efforts are carried out to turn Kirkuk into TelafarITF Turkey Representative Ahmet Muratlı explained, “Attention must be paid to Kirkuk. In order to form a state in the north, there are plans to further decrease the Turkmen population in the region” and to this end policies to incept massacres and exile according to the example of Telafar will start in Kirkuk.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Acts of terror in Iraq are directed at the Turkmen and Kirkuk. 19.06.2006

Necdet Ata Kerküklü
After the massacre of 20 Turkmen students in Karatepe district located between Kifri and Hanekin 100 km north of Baghdad on June 4th, more attacks were made in 5 different Turkmen regions in Kirkuk killing 13 and seriously wounding 41 people. Looking at the method and timing of the terrorism activities, it can be observed that these acts are spreading into the Turkmen region, starting from the south and climbing towards the north, especially targeting Kirkuk and Mosul. I fear that at this rate every city in Turkmeneli will be remembered for the atrocities committed there while the world merely stands by and observes.

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Iraq gets 'coalition of the reluctant' as allies retreat

By Guy Dinmore in Washington and David Pilling in Tokyo
Published: June 20 2006 03:00
Last updated: June 20 2006 03:00

The shrinking US "coalition of the willing" in Iraq has come to resemble more a coalition of the reluctant, as allies weigh up the costs of continued involvement in an unpopular war against the benefits of backing President George W. Bush for the rest of his second term.
Japan is expected to become the latest coalition member to announce a schedule for its withdrawal in a public statement today. Italy's new foreign minister, Massimo D'Alema, met Condoleezza Rice, US secretary of state, last week to discuss the Italian pullout by the end of the year, meaning in effect an end to operations by September.
Spain withdrew its 1,300 soldiers from Iraq in 2004 after a change of government. The Netherlands, Ukraine, Nicaragua, the Philippines and Honduras have also pulled out. Only several thousand foreign troops remain alongside some 130,000 US soldiers.
The UK yesterday confirmed that Iraqi security forces would take over responsibility for security in the southern Muthana province, where Japanese forces were based. British and Australian troops - who provided security for the Japanese as they carried out reconstruction projects - will be redeployed....continue

Monday, June 19, 2006

No change expected

Iraqis are not fooled by the hype as the brutality of the occupation grinds on regardless of Zarqawi, writes Nermeen Al-Mufti from Baghdad

The death of Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi has not alleviated tensions in Iraq. US and Iraqi troops still patrol main city roads as well as various highways. The roads linking Baghdad to Diali, the province in which Zarqawi was killed, and Al-Ramadi, a city still under attack, are being heavily patrolled. Al-Fallujah, Al-Ratba and Al-Qaem, all to the west of Baghdad, have been under siege for weeks. The only good news in the war-torn country is that the Shia militia in Basra have declared a cease-fire until the World Cup is over.
Iraqis have been in two minds about the death of Zarwaqi. Iraqi resistance brigades described him as a "brother" in Islam and jihad, but when a phone-in radio programme in Baghdad invited response from the public several callers voiced joy at the death of "the terrorist" while others voiced sympathy.
Reprisals were not long in coming. Fifty college students have been shot dead within a week. "Al-Qaeda in the Land of the Two Rivers," the group once led by Zarqawi, is thought to be behind the killing. Among the dead were 20 Turkoman Shias and students whose clothes violated the dress code Al-Qaeda is trying to enforce. Iraqis may have grown used to their countrymen getting killed by booby-trapped cars and "friendly" US fire, but the killing of students was received with a mixture of shock and alarm.
Political analyst Raad Al-Hodeithi was not optimistic. "Zarqawi's death might give President Bush a chance to boost his fortunes ahead of the half-term elections in November, but it will not increase his popularity. The Americans started a wide-scale attack against Ramadi on 10 June, following a siege in which the city's roads to Baghdad and other towns were cut off. This suggests that the White House intends to destroy Iraq and undermine the political process."
President Jalal Al-Talabani has told the nation that an agreement between the government and the resistance was expected soon and that acts of violence would subside by the end of the year. But Abu Ali, who is close to the Islamic Army, is doubtful: "The factions that have opened dialogue with the Iraqi government are not the same ones resisting the occupation. These are factions that search for political posts and perhaps financial interests. The factions of the true resistance have not started and will not start a dialogue unless US forces declare a timetable for withdrawal. We said were weren't going to talk to the government, because we don't recognise it."
Abdel-Aziz Al-Hakim, leader of the Iraqi Alliance, has once again called for a federal system in the south and centre of the country. Speaking in Al-Najaf to a gathering of Shia parties, Al-Hakim pledged to "work through all means to achieve this objective and complete the journey we've started". The gathering was attended by members of the Supreme Council of the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI) and Iraq's Hizbullah. Al-Sadr supporters didn't attend the meeting.
This was not the first time Al-Hakim has called for federalism. In a speech delivered in Al-Suleimaniya late last year, Al-Hakim proffered that, "Federalism is the right choice for the Kurdistan of Iraq. It is also the right choice in the centre and south of Iraq, as well as in Baghdad and other Iraqi cities."
It is noteworthy that a substantial proportion of Iraqis object to Kurdish-style federalism because they don't want to see a regional government having defence and foreign ministers and talking to foreign powers independently from the central government. Many Iraqis see such federalism as a first step towards the partition of Iraq.
As political uncertainty continued, the Association of Muslim Scholars said that various militia and unidentified death squads were still murdering Sunni individuals, including clerics. Meanwhile, the Islamic Party, which takes part in the current political process, expressed satisfaction that Prime Minister Nour Al-Maliki's government freed dozens of Iraqi detainees.
Concerning the political process, the Arab League has postponed a national dialogue conference slated earlier for 22 June without setting a new date for its convocation. Several Iraqi politicians had said that they wouldn't attend the conference if it were held in the Green Zone, calling for the gathering to be held outside the country for security reasons. Masoud Al-Barzani has called for the conference to be held in Arbil, a venue unacceptable to many.
As chaos and mayhem continued unabated, Friday preachers advised relatives of the dead not to claim their remains from the morgue. The reason: four individuals have been abducted and killed when they went to claim the body of a relative.