Mar 20 2013
By Marwan al-Ani
Azzaman, March 20, 2013
Iraqi Turkmen say they are not being treated properly and equally and have asked the United Nations and the European Union for protection.
In a statement, the head of a coalition grouping the various Iraqi Turkmen factions Arshad al-ٍSalehi said his people in the country were denied equal rights like other sections of the society.
He asked both the U.N. and the E.U. to exert pressure on the regional Kurdish government in the north and the central government in Baghdad to do more for granting equal rights to his minority.
Turkmen are members of a Turkish-speaking minority in Iraq and part of large waves of emigration and settlement by Turks during the Ottoman Empire which ruled the country for nearly 400 years.
Iraqi Turkmen mainly inhabit the oil-rich Province of Kirkuk but they also have large representation in the provinces of Mosul, Diyala and Salahudeen.
“The U.N. and the E.U. are required to pressure the central government (in Baghdad) and the (Kurdish) regional government to guarantee the protection of Turkmen,”said Salehi.
Most Turkmen in Iraq are Shiite-Muslims and their areas have been repeatedly targeted by deadly car bombings and violence by insurgents and members of al-Qaeda group in Iraq.
In Kirkuk, where most of them live, the Turkmen, like other minorities, complain of pressure and marginalization by Kurds who control most of the province through their militias and security forces.
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