Jul 14, 2011

Metin Kazak MEP Announces Iraqi Turkmen Hearing

In a recent meeting of the European Parliament’s Subcommittee on Human Rights, Metin Kazak spoke about the increasing violence in Kirkuk and appealed to the European External Action Service to take steps toward protecting Iraqi Turkmen rights in the region.

The city of Kirkuk has experienced a significant increase in violence, targeted at ethnic groups, in the months leading up to the U.S. withdrawal from Iraq.  While the reconstruction effort in the country has yielded a marked decline in violence in a majority of regions, Kirkuk’s barriers to peace stem from an enduring struggle amongst several ethnic communities over the governance model for the city and wider region. 

The Iraqi Turkmen, who have long suffered varying degrees of persecution in Iraq, have called for the restoration of peace, representation and culture in the region.  These requests have been met with “bombings, assassinations and intimidations,” according to Metin Kazak, a member of the European Parliament representing Bulgaria. 

On 13 July 2011, Kazak implored the European External Action Service to “support a peaceful and equitable solution to the question of Kirkuk and…initiatives intended to promote deep and meaningful dialogue between political parties, including all Iraqi Turkmen parties, associated with the disputed territory.”

In a prepared statement, a spokesman from the External Action Service responded that “in terms of the question of dialogue, the EU fully supports the United Nations, which has been in the lead on this issue and is playing a prominent role in facilitating dialogue on the disputed territories.”

The spokesman emphasized that a UN task force exists to confront the Kirkuk question and that this force has been consistent in its attempts to aid the Iraqi government in solving internal border disagreements.

The UNPO anticipates that these issues will be comprehensively discussed in the upcoming hearing organised by the Subcommittee on Human Rights, Iraq’s Forgotten People? – The Turkmen of Kirkuk chaired by Mr Kazak.  The hearing, set to take place on Monday, 5 December 2011*, will highlight the Iraqi Turkmen’s unique history which is so closely associated with Kirkuk, the consequences of US withdrawal on the community, and the future of Iraqi Turkmen in the region.

To read the full transcript of the exchange, please click here.

* Please note that the date of this hearing is now 5 December 2011 and it did not occur on 3 October 2011.