The majority of the Muslim Turkoman are concentrated in the north and central parts of Iraq in the provinces of Mosul, Erbil, Kirkuk and Deyalah.
The Turkoman are the third largest ethnic group in Iraq after the Kurds and Arabs. They are descendants of the Turkic-speaking Oguz tribes from Central Asia. Historically, the Turkoman formed a cultural buffer zone between the Arabs in the south and the Kurds in the north. The number of Turkoman is estimated at 2-2,5 million.
The Iraq Turkoman are represented in the UNPO by the Iraqi National Turkman Party (INTP). The party strives for the respect for all nationalities, ethnic groups and religions, and for a peaceful resolution of the conflicts within Iraq through the political participation of all ethnic groups in the country.
- 1925: Under the Constitution, the Kurds and the Turkoman had the right to use their own languages in schools, government offices and to have their own language press.
- 1972: The government of Iraq prohibited the study in the Turkish language and banned the Turkish media in Iraq.
- 1973: In the Interim Constitution no reference is made to the Turkoman population in Iraq.
- 1980’s: The Baath regime prohibited the public use of the Turkish language.
- 1990: In the new Constitution only states that Iraq people consist of Arabs and Kurds.
- 1991: The creation of the safe haven by the UN after the Gulf War divided the Turkoman into separate communities in the Kurdish autonomous area and under the Iraqi administration.The Iraq Turkoman became the member of UNPO.
- 1996: During the assault in the Kurdish autonomous region, by the combined forces of the Kurdistan Democratic Party and the Iraqi army, the headquarters of the INTP were attacked and destroyed.
The distinct identity of the Iraqi Turkoman is still not officially recognized. They do not figure in national census and linguistic rights are denied even in places where they form the majority of the population. Repression under Sadam Hussein´s government is directed at all opposition, distinctive ethnic and religious minorities were specially targeted, leading to violations of the linguistic, cultural and property rights of the Turkoman. The ongoing fighting between Kurdish factions has taken its toll on the Turkoman population in the area.
Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organisation (UNPO)
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