Dec 21, 2005

Iraqi Turkmen: Losing Out in Elections

Press Release by Iraqi Turkmen Human Rights Research Foundation, SOITM, voicing critical concern over voting procedures in recent election in Iraq
Below is an extract from a press statement by the Iraqi Turkmen Human Rights Research Foundation (SOITM) released on 21 December 2005.

“Mainly, the Turkmen are losing in the inevitable Iraqi elections”

Despite the lack of the simplest requirements of voting processes in Iraq, the election remains almost the only choice to get out of the Iraqi disastrous dilemma. In the present state of affairs, the enormous irregularities make the election lose its legality and advantages.

The cardinal requirement of any voting process is the lists of the names of the voters. Almost all the election centers in 15 countries out of Iraq were missing these fundamental voter lists. A simple identity card was enough to vote. Consequently, the long residue ink, in which the fingers of voters are dipped, remains the only method to prevent fraud. Almost in all the countries out of Iraq, possible in Iraq as well, the ink was removable. This had been approved by newspapers and international organizations in many country. (See reference) Thousands of the voters have been seen voted several times in a day in one election center. These important shortages are one aspect of the malfunctioning administration of the whole election processes and particularly outside country.

Institution of the election teams
One or two individuals were sent from Baghdad by the Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq (IECI) to each country, where the election is achieved. These people had selected the nucleolus team of the commission in each country, which included 6 – 15 Iraqis. The independency of these peoples is questionable. Almost all of them were either Arabs or Kurds. The Turkmen had been put out of these teams. During the conference for civil organizations in Utrecht, the team in the Netherlands had been introduced by al-Bayati as follows: The head of the team, which was absent, was a Kurd called Shari. The two assistants were an Arab called al-Bayati and a Kurd. A Christian called Alpatty was in charge of the media group. Several other members were either Kurds or Arabs. Almost the same happen in the other countries.

Appointment of staffs
The election teams of each country had appointed the staffs to manage the election processes. In the Netherlands the distribution of election staffs was as follows: 94 were Kurds, 78 Arabs, and 10 Turkmen – two were pro-Kurdish and 2 Sabaeans. The number of men was 127 and the number of the women was 63. The percentage of Turkmen was 4. Only one (woman) Turkmen had been appointed as a head of station, which included 7 staffs, from the total 24 stations (boxes).

Appointment of observers
The election team had made the document from the chamber of the commerce, the only stipulation to appoint only one observer from each Turkmen civil society organization. SOITM could not present the above mentioned document to the election commission due to the following factors, as a result could not have an observer:
-The document from chamber of the commerce includes full names and addresses of the management council of the organization.
-The nucleus team of the election commission staffed mainly by the Kurds.
-Kurdish militants (Pashmarga) are widely arresting Turkmen activists and bringing them to the Kurdish prisons.
-Turkmen who enter into or leave Iraq from the Khabur frontier gate are frequently arrested by the Kurdish militants, for example.
-Dakhil Ibrahim has been arrested at the Kurdish Awaka control point at 20.10.2005.
-Jafar Gaib has been arrested at the same control point at 14.11.2005. Both of them disappeared for weeks.

Direction of voters to election stations
Distribution of voters to election stations had been achieved manually, which made the direction of a voter to a specific station possible. This factor facilitated the use of multiple voting by single voters.

Turkmen regions in Iraq
In the Kurdish quarters of Turkmen regions, particularly in the Kerkuk province […] the observers of the Iraqi Turkmen parties and civil organizations have been insulted, bitten, and prevented to enter the election centers by the high-ranking Kurdish polices, particularly, in the election centers of Kurdish quarters, for example: Rahim Awa, Shorja and Imam Kasim.

The number of the Kurdish voters who were registered by the Kurds in these 3 quarters is about 160.000, in spite that the total population of these quarters is not more then 150.000.

Note: reviewed for English language by M. Kelenchy


1. A video film published by the national newspaper Volkskrant at 15.12.2005 under the title “Easily Removable Democracy”


Source: SOITM