Jul 14, 2009

Iraqi Turkmens: Head of Turkmen Reform List Speaks Out

Active ImageMr. Abdul Qadir Bazirgan, head of the Turkmen Reform List, argues that Turkmens deserve a voice in the upcoming parliamentary and presidential elections in Kurdistan.
Below is an article published by the Kurdish Globe:

The Kurdish Globe met Abdul Qadir Bazirgan, head of the Turkmen Reform List, to discuss the Kurdistan Parliamentary and presidential elections and the situation of Turkmen, politically and economically, in Kurdistan Region and Iraq.

Bazirgan said Turkmen Reform works with the aim of guaranteeing a good political, economical, and security situation for the Turkmen people.

He said Turkmen in Kurdistan demand to have the posts of key administration posts in the region.

"Since Turkmen are the second nation in Kurdistan after the Kurds, we demand that the deputy of the Kurdistan Prime Minister should be for Turkmen. We should have at least three ministers; also, in other small positions we should have posts," said Bazirgan.

Bazirgan started his political career after the 1991 uprising in Kurdistan region against the Iraqi government to help Turkmen community.

In 1996, he became a member of central bureau of the Turkmen Union Party, and in 2003, he participated in the Turkmen Front conference, which was held in Kirkuk city. In the conference he was elected as head of the Turkmen Front in Erbil city.

He remarked that during his work as head of the Turkmen Front in Erbil, he tried to help Turkmen in Erbil and develop strong relations with Kurds, but he was not successful because the Turkmen Front focused only on the Turkmen in Kirkuk and other areas outside Kurdistan Region while it neglected the Turkmen in Kurdistan.

In 2005, Bazirgan again participated in the Turkmen Front conference in Kirkuk. "After two days of the conference, I realized it was not really a conference at all. The so-called conference was full of neighboring countries' agents, so I left and came back to Erbil and told my friends that I split from the Front."

Turkmen Front is a political movement founded in 1995 which seeks to represent the Turkmen people of Iraq. The movement has a strong relation with Turkey; the Front opposes Iraqi federalism on the grounds that it would give too much power to Iraqi Kurds. It believes that Turkmen are the majority in Kirkuk and they are against any move to annex Kirkuk with Kurdistan Region.

Why the Turkmen do not unite, asked Globe? In Iraq and Kurdistan, said Bazirgan, there are many Turkmen political parties and organizations, and whenever a Turkmen party is formed there is a reason for that. Each party has its own ideology. The Turkmen Reform ideology is Iraqi and Kurdistani, and we don't want any regional countries interfering in our affairs.

Also, there are Turkmen who are Shiites and Turkmen who are Sunnis; the Shiite Turkmen love their religion more than their "Turkmeniness." In Kirkuk, the Turkmen love their "Turkmeniness" before anything else, while the Turkmen in Kurdistan are very calm and logical.

"The Turkmen Front has destroyed the Turkmen situation all over Iraq; it has created discordance among Turkmen, between the Sunni and the Shiite Turkmen and between the Turkmen in Iraq and the Turkmen in Kurdistan Region," he said that.

Regarding the Kurdistan Region draft constitution, he noted that the draft Constitution of Kurdistan is very good. It has preserved all the rights for Turkmen and it recognizes Turkmen as the second nation in the region. It is written that in Kurdistan there is no difference between Kurd and Turkmen, and in the referendum we will vote for this Constitution.

Bazirgan wants Kirkuk to be part of Kurdistan region, he believes that If Kirkuk and the other disputed areas return to Kurdistan Region, the Turkmen can be more united and closer to each other, and their situations--politically, economically, and concerning security--will be much better.