Oct 12, 2011

Iraqi Turkmen: Landowners Protest Land Seizures

With documents declaring ownership in hand, demonstrators lobbied for the recovery of their ancestral lands in Kirkuk and refused offers of reparation.  There are currently 45,000 cases in front of the city’s Commission of Property Disputes.

Below is an article published by Alsumaria:

Tens of Iraqi Turkmen from Kirkuk demonstrated, on Sunday, calling to reclaim their lands that were confiscated by the former regime and to call for the amendment of Property Disputes Commission’s law.

Demonstrators refused to receive financial indemnities in return of their lands. Kirkuk provincial council, for its part, affirmed that there were more than 45 thousand cases over disputed lands in Kirkuk.

“Tens of citizens from Tis’in region and other Kirkuk areas took to the streets on Sunday in a peaceful demonstration to protest against the non-recuperation of their lands which were seized by the former regime,” protestor Mahdi Saheb told Alsumarianews. “Demonstrators requested from the central government, the parliament and the Commission of Property Disputes to return Turkmens’ properties and lands in Tis’in region and other parts of Kirkuk to their original owners,” he added.

“Legitimate land owners still have old documents that prove their ownership,” Saheb declared. “They have presented petitions to the Property Disputes Commission in order to recover their lands, however, they haven’t received so far any indemnity which is anyway a minor compensation,” he noted.

“Protesters do not seek indemnities. All they want is to get back their lands,” Saheb concluded.

“Kirkuk provincial council has a special committee related to the Property Disputes Commission which is believed to be one of the most complicated issues that should be dealt with,” Kirkuk provincial council member Najat Hassan told Alsumarianews. “Turkmens are suffering from Properties Disputes Law that entitles governmental institutions to own the lands they need,” he added. “These lands must be returned to their owners before proceeding with the right to own or not”, Hassan said.

“There are about 45 thousand cases over disputed lands in Kirkuk,” Hassan continued. “Many of these cases didn’t acquire a definitive status yet despite the settling of many others,” he added. “Indemnities don’t compensate what have been ripped off and the Ministry of Finance along with other ministries are not paying off financial dues because of the amount of compensations,” Hassan assured.

The Commission of Property Disputes in Kirkuk, affirms that there are 43 thousand property cases out of which 5% were settled by paying off real estate indemnities in Kirkuk.