Nov 27, 2013

Iraqi Turkmen: ITF Coordinator Discusses Iraq-Turkey Relations On TV

Picture@European - Turkmen Friendships

On 26 November 2013, the Coordinator and Turkey Representative of the Iraqi Turkmen Front (ITF), Dr. Hicran Kazancı, participated in a broadcast programme on Turkmeneli TV. He spoke of his party’s election strategy in view of the forthcoming general elections in Iraq, as well as of the positive developments in the relations between Iraq and Turkey.

Below is an article published by European – Turkmen Friendships:

The Coordinator of the Iraqi Turkmen Front (ITF) and Turkey Representative Dr. Hicran Kazancı participated in a program titled ‘Agora’ broadcast by Turkmeneli TV and made some important statements about the relations between Iraq and Turkey and the general elections to be held on the 30th of April 2014 in Iraq.

Kazancı said that various changes had been made in the internal structure of the Front to enable the Turkmen community to emerge stronger from the sensitive process which Iraq entered after 2003 and to enable the Iraqi Turkmen Front to have the capacity to react to the developments in the region in a more rapid, strong and flexible manner. Kazancı emphasized that another reason for the changes was to establish and sustain a close relationship based on rational foundations with all the elements in Iraqi politics and said:

“The most important reason for this change was to capture the respect we as Turkmen deserve in Iraq, our acceptance not as the third element but a primary element of Iraq and the enactment of the rights which we have been given. No matter what our faith and opinions may be as the Iraqi Turkmen Front we are united by one common point. We act through Turkmen solidarity and brotherhood and embrace all Turkmen groups.”

Kazancı indicated that the ITF had been fortified by the Turkmen Assembly and set forth with an understanding which covered all Turkmen and said that they were deeply involved in works for the elections. Kazancı underlined the importance of increasing the numbers of voters to participate in the elections by saying, “If participation is low we will be greatly harmed”.

In reply to the question about the election strategy of the ITF and who they would establish coalitions with in each province, Kazancı said that the ITF followed a strategy which gave consideration to the national interests of the Turkmen community. Kazancı said that the syndrome of sending one member of parliament into Parliament had been overcome with the elections in 2010 and explained that they had acquired representation rights by sending 6 members of parliament into Parliament and 2 ministers into the Cabinet. Kazancı indicated that the strategy for the next elections was to send as many members of parliament to Parliament as possible and acquire an influential position in the decision making mechanism in the Baghdad Government. Kazancı said in line with this strategy they would enter the elections with different lists in different regions and continued by saying, “A definite decision has not been made regarding which lists shall be used in the elections. They are being assessed”. Kazancı said that in addition to the ITF, two political formations had been registered in order to participate in the elections with different groups in different areas. Kazancı indicated that the ITF was in close contact with all the elements in Iraq and added, “We are open to everyone. We will decide in the near future who, where and how we will enter the elections with, by giving consideration to the interests of the community.”

Kazancı assessed the recent status of Iraqi-Turkey affairs saying that Iraq was an important country for Turkey and that there were historical and cultural ties between the two countries. Kazancı underlined that Turkey was not only an important country for Iraq but for the whole region as well and pointed out that when Europe was in the grips of an economic crisis Turkey was enjoying stability and wealth. Kazancı emphasized that Turkey was a major corridor in the transport of petroleum and said, “There are economic, political and geographical links between Turkey and Iraq. It was decided that it was not possible to maintain the tension in the affairs of Turkey and Iraq. The normalization of affairs is not positive only to Iraq and Turkey but to the people of the region as well. Turkey has always been a country which spreads stability in its periphery. It is a country which gets its strength from stability”. Kazancı pointed out that Northern Iraq had developed because of its good relations with Turkey and said:

“The Turkmen must benefit from this. There are three important centers for the Turkmen: Baghdad, Arbil and Ankara. When relations normalize between them the Turkmen will benefit in a major way. For this reason it is a good sign for the region that relations between the Baghdad Government and the Government of Turkey have normalized recently. The visits which started recently, the normalization of relations, Turkish companies starting work again will not only contribute to the economy of Turkey but bring welfare to Iraq as it did to Northern Iraq.”

Kazancı emphasized the importance of Turkey saying, “Today it is evident that problems emerging in the Middle East, Central Asia or Europe cannot be resolved by keeping Turkey out. Turkey is now obliged to take its place on this platform”. Kazancı indicated that Turkey made a significant contribution to ensure welfare, democracy and stability in Northern Iraq and this was possible through good relations. Kazancı drew attention to the fact that until 2003 relations between the Kurdistan region and Turkey had been tense and normalization of these relations had been more beneficial to Northern Iraq than to Turkey.

Kazancı said that the Iraqi Turkmen Front had opened an office in the Kurdistan region recently and that in the forthcoming process the Turkmen might get a ministry saying, “That means that we will also become influential there. It is not going to help our case to remain outside the government. It is wrong to have a working relationship with one and cut communication with another. This harmed us. If it is vital that we are involved in the Baghdad government then it is also necessary to be involved in the Kurdistan Region. It is vital for the welfare of the Turkmen cause that we work in coordination with Ankara when we do this”.

Kazancı reminded that Ahmet Davutoğlu, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey, visited both the Sunni as well as the Shiite leaders in Iraq and said, “This is a discourse which befits a country which is a great state. Those who accused Turkey of pro-Sunnism and other things in the past must have felt ashamed today”.

Kazancı indicated that the Speaker of the GNAT Cemil Çiçek was a significant personality and that his visit to Iraq would create a major impact as did Davutoğlu’s visit and pointed out that the ‘zero problem’ policy of Turkey was a correct policy.