Jul 16, 2015

Iraqi Turkmen: Humanitarian Emergency Due to ongoing Oppression

During an interview, Mr Erşat Salihi, head of the Iraqi Turkmen Front, has referred to the history of massacres, along with the continuous oppression that the Turkmen have been experiencing for decades in Iraq and Middle Eastern countries. Explicitly recalling the massacre of 1959, Mr. Salihi stated that his community is still facing similar massacres today.


Below there is an article published by Today’s Zaman:


Since the emergence of the modern state system in the Middle East, Turkmens have been among the subnational groups that have had to experience challenges in their respective countries. "In every new conflict that has shattered the Middle East, Turkmens are the ones who suffered a lot," said Erşat Salihi, the head of the Iraqi Turkmen Front (ITC), in an interview with Today's Zaman on Tuesday [14 July 2015]. Recalling the massacre of Turkmens in 1959 in Iraq, the ITC president said that today, ISIL is carrying out similar massacres and mass killings against his community.

 In a visit to the graves of Turkmens killed by communist Kurdish groups endorsed by the Iraqi regime in Iraq on July 14, 1959, Salihi said that little has changed regarding the security and wellbeing of the Turkmen community.

 One year after the revolution on July 14, 1958 that brought down the monarchy, Iraq was hit by violence and revolt, with communist Kurdish militants massacring Turkmens, including community leaders and intellectuals.

 Gen. Abd al-Karim Qasim, the leader of the 1958 revolution, used the 1959 Kirkuk Massacre as a pretext to suppress the Iraqi Communist Party (ICP), in which Kurdish communists held senior positions.

 Ahmet Necim, another Turkmen, said he witnessed the murder of his father after torture. His brother survived torture but lost his mind and was left disabled.

The 1959 massacre left a deep scar in the collective memory of Turkmens, many of whom are now threatened by ISIL.