Has the US been Fighting Turkmen?
Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul revealed that he threatened the US over its treatment of Turkmen in Iraq when he talked to Secretary of State Colin Powell. The Scotsman writes,
‘ Gul said he spoke to US Secretary of State Colin Powell ”and told him that what is being done there is harming the civilian population, that it is wrong, and that if it continues, Turkey’s cooperation on issues regarding Iraq will come to a total stop. . . We have conveyed this very openly. … Of course we won’t limit ourselves to words. We never shy away from carrying out whatever is necessary.” ‘
The Scotsman also notes of the US operation in Tal Afar (mainly inhabited by Shiite Turkmen: “Reports from the area said that several ethnic Turks were killed or wounded in the operation, while thousands more were forced to flee.” [Actually it turns out that the Turkmen of Tel Afar are largely Sunni and had been close to the Baath Party. 7/8/05/]
Al-Hayat says that the Turkmen Front accused the US of abetting the Kurds in forcing Turkmen out of the city, and aiding Kurds to resettle there. The US military maintains that it was acting at the behest of local leaders, who said that Sunni Arab fighters had taken over the city and were displacing Turkmen Shiites.
Al-Zaman says that Prime Minister Iyad Allawi is developing a plan to deploy Kurdish troops against the Sunni Arabs in problematic cities such as Fallujah and Samarra. The problem with this strategy is that it creates hatred against Kurds in the Arab lands.
The US siege of the northwestern city of Tal Afar ended on Monday when US troops were finally able to enter the city with no opposition.
Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, leader of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq, condemned the US operation in Tal Afar, accusing the Americans of causing “catastrophes.” SCIRI, which has largely cooperated with the Americans, has a militia of some 15,000 well-trained me.
Robert Lyday writes from California:
‘ Some, many, or most of the guerillas in Tal Afar are in fact Turkmen. Canadian journalist, working on a book about the Turkmen of Iraq, went to Tal Afar and was taken hostage during the fighting. Apparently he is claiming that the guerillas are Turkmen, or at least some of them
are. They dropped him off with some Arab Al Qaeda types in Mosul, who severely mistreated him.
Also, a Turkish journalist was kidnapped in Tal Afar around the same and released to Turkmen authorities in Mosul. That she was released to Turkmen authorities implies she was also captured by Turkmen.
The US analysis – that the Tal Afar Turkmen are being held hostage by Sunni Arab Baathists, Islamists and foreign fighters is in serious need of revision. Note how the reporter also talks about heavy support amongst the Tal Afar Turkmen for the guerilla.
No wonder the Turkish government is so angry. My God, we are fighting Turkmen in Iraq! What a disaster!
Robert Lyday ‘