Saturday, August 26, 2006

'Iraq Undergoing a Critical Period', Says Turkish Iraqi Leader

Speaking at a meeting held on Tuesday in the Turkish capital Ankara, Iraqi Turkmen Front (ITC) chairman Sadettin Ergec has said that Turkomans were moving through a critical period.
Today's meeting which brought together representatives of Turkomans living outside Iraq took place at the Ankara Turkmeneli Culture Center. The ITC Chairman stated in his speech that the Iraqi Turkomans were struggling for their existence in the country.....>

Oil-rich Kirkuk must remain Iraqi city

ANKARA - Turkish Daily News
Turkmen groups have said the inclusion of the disputed northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk within the local Kurdish government in the north of Iraq cannot be accepted. “Under the current circumstances, a referendum slated for late 2007 will not solve the problem. In fact, decisions made on Kirkuk are contradictory and lack a legal basis,” said a draft summary issued yesterday after a two-day meeting of Turkmen groups in Ankara. .....>

ITC: Annexation of Kirkuk unacceptable

Friday , 25 August 2006
The Iraqi Turkmen Front (ITC) yesterday expressed its opposition to the oil-rich city of Kirkuk coming under the Iraqi Kurdistan regional government and called for a special status for the city.
The ITC and around 60 political groups and organizations from the Turkmen diaspora issued a final declaration yesterday following a two-day meeting in Ankara.
Underlining that the Kirkuk issue is the main priority of Iraqi Turkmens, the ITC expressed its support for Kirkuk being given a special status like Baghdad and not being controlled by any regional administration. It also warned that Turkmens will continue their struggle against injustices against Turkmens using all democratic means.

Iraq: Kirkuk Must Remain An Iraqi City

August 25, 2006 16 40 GMT
The oil-rich northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk must not come under the control of the regional government of Kurdistan, Turkomen groups said in a statement Aug. 25. The Turkomen added that if Kirkuk does not remain under Iraqi control, they will use every means within their rights to end injustices taking place in Turkomen-populated areas.

Three Turkmen shot dead in Kirkuk after Turkmen-Kurd fighting in nearbytown

Sat Aug 23, 6:20 PM ET
KIRKUK, Iraq (AFP) - Three Turkmen were shot dead by police in Iraq
(news - web sites)'s northern oil-rich city of Kirkuk, Kirkuk GovernorAbdul Rahman Mustafa said. The deaths came a day after fighting between Turkmen and Kurds in nearbyTuz Khurmatu left eight dead on both sides, while two more Turkmen werekilled by US soldiers as the US-led coalition faced the spectre ofgrowing ethnic fighting. The three Turkmen were gunned down after they opened fire on a policebuilding during a demonstration, Mustafa said. "Elements seeking to destabilize Kirkuk ... exploited the peacefuldemonstration and opened fire on the police building without anyjustification, prompting the police to return fire," Mustafa told AFP. "This led to the killing of three of the demonstrators," he said. Three policemen, including an officer, were also wounded. Irsan Kirkuly, a Turkmen member of the city's local council, earliertold AFP that three Turkmen were arrested during the protest. Three cars, including a police vehicle, were destroyed. Colonel Bill Mayville, commander of US-led coalition forces in Kirkuk,met with representatives of all communities in the multi-ethnic city --which is home to Kurds, Arabs, Turkmen and Assyrian Christians -- in aneffort to restore calm. "The situation is now secure in the town," Mustafa said, after mostresidents had rushed to their homes and shop-owners shut their stores. Demonstrators included residents of Tuz Khurmatu, where fighting betweenKurds and Turkmen on Friday left eight dead on both sides and anothertwo Turkmen were killed by US soldiers. According to Kahya Galib, a member of the Iraqi Turkmen Front, thefighting in Tuz Khurmatu, 60 kilometers (40 miles) south of Kirkuk,broke out after unidentified elements fired a rocket-propelled grenadeat a Shiite religious site revered by Shiite Turkmen residents. A town official told AFP that eight people, five Turkmen and threeKurds, were killed in the clashes, which he blamed on elements of thetoppled Baath Party of ousted Iraqi president Saddam Hussein (news - websites). Ten Turkmen and three Kurds were injured, said Tuz Khurmatu's Kurdishmayor Mohammad Rashid Mohammad. US soldiers also killed two Turkmen during a demonstration in TuzKhurmatu Friday, a US military spokesman said. Friday's fighting broke out amid deep tensions in the town between itsKurdish majority and Arab and Turkmen minorities. Tuz Khurmatu was sealed off by US troops Saturday, said an AFP reporteron the site. Lieutenant Colonel Bill MacDonald said 4th Infantry Division soldiersentered the town in response to reports of "Iraqi-on-Iraqi violence"erupting during what he thought was a Turkmen demonstration. Upon entering the town, a US military patrol was fired on by a group offour Turkmen, MacDonald said. The soldiers responded and "killed two of them and slightly wounded twoothers," he added. "Local leaders were able to calm down the situation and disperse thecrowd. An investigation is ongoing." Captain George Swenson, who heads coalition forces in Tuz Khurmatu, toldAFP that the town was "stable but still on knife" Saturday. Tensions have risen in Tuz Khurmatu as the Kurds have demanded that thetown be transferred to the Kurdish-majority governorate of Kirkuk fromthe Arab-majority province of Salahuddin, in which it currently lies. A Turkmen representative in the Kurdish city of Arbil, Jawdat al-Najar,said the clashes in Tuz Khurmatu were provoked by "those who don't wantstability in Iraq." Najar, who is president of the Turkmen cultural association, called onTurkmen and Kurds to avoid any further confrontation and find a peacefulsettlement. About 200 Kurds protested outside the Kirkuk government building lastSunday demanding that they be incorporated within the province. Arab police officers complained last week at a checkpoint outside thetown that Kurds were dominating life in Tuz Khurmatu, grabbing all keygovernment positions and businesses since Saddam's fall in April.