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Turkomans (Iraq)

Last modified: 2020-07-31 by ian macdonald
Keywords: crescent(white) | star(white) | turkmen | stars:6(white) |
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About the Iraqi Turkomans

Courrier International #536 (8 February 2001) gives the translation of a paper originally published in Al-Hayat (a Saudi newspaper published in London), which sheds some light on this minority.

The semi-nomadic Turkoman people, ca. 6 millions of people of Turkic language, live in Turkmenistan, the north of Afghanistan, the north-east of Iran, the north of Iraq, Turkey, Russia and China (Xinjiang).
In Iraq, the ca. 300,000 Turkomans live in the neighborhood of the city of Kirkuk.
On 5 June 1926, Turkey signed an agreement with Great Britain and Iraq, according to which Iraqi sovereignty on the vilayet of Mosul was acknowledged. In exchange, Turkey should receive 10% of the income produced by oil extraction in the area for 25 years. The Turkish Parliament ratified the agreement but Turkey never totally renounced to sovereignty over Mosul. President Demirel stated in 1995: "Mosul still belongs to us, and security of Turkey requires definition of new borders with Iraq."
The staff of the Turkish Army recently proposed a program aimed 'to protect the Turkomans of Iraq' by creating an autonomous Turkoman zone in the area located north of the 36th southern parallel (the limit of the air exclusion zone imposed by United Nations to Iraq). It seems [according to Al-Hayat] that Turkey tries to use traditional links between Turks and Turkomans to prevent the creation of an independent Kurdish state in the area. Turkey persuaded the President of the Iraqi Turkoman Party to ask a Turkish protection for the Iraqi Turkomans. The Iraqi Turkomans consider Kirkuk as 'their' capital and require the creation of an autonomous Turkoman area if Iraq evolves towards an Arabo-Kurdish federation. The Kurds refuse to consider Kirkuk as a Turkoman city.
Ivan Sache, 26 May 2001

The majority of the Muslim Turkomans 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 Turkish-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 Turkomans is estimated [by themselves--ed.] at 2 to 2.5 million. The Iraq Turkoman are represented in the Unrepresented Peoples' Organization (UNPO) by the Iraqi National Turkoman 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, whose territorial integrity should be maintained. The distinct identity of the Iraqi Turkoman is still not officially recognised. They do not figure in national census and linguistic rights are denied even in places where they form the majority of the population.
UNPO website
Ivan Sache, 12 March 2002

The Turkomans of Iraq enjoyed certain rights during the monarchy, but these rights disappeared with the republic. Especially bloody was the Turkoman massacre of 14 July 1959 in Kirkuk. In 1960 the Turkoman Brotherhood Association was established, intending to meet the social needs of the Turkomans and operating as a club. In 1977 the Ba'ath Party limited their activities and in 1979 arrested some of its leaders, who were executed in 1980. In 1981, the Iraqi National Democratic Turkoman Organization (INDTO) was established, which joined the democratic National Front. It established its first military base in Sinat, in northern Iraq, in the same year, and a second in the region of Navzang in 1982. In 1983, the political organizations of Iraq recognized Turkoman rights. In 1985, political changes provoked the end of the activities of the INDTO. Three years later the Iraqi National Turkoman Party (INTP) was constituted. According to the INTP, it acted in secrecy without revealing its existence until 1991, when, in connection with the War of Kuwait, it made itself known and cooperated with the coalition forces. After the war, the party established a radio network, Turkoman press, and some schools in northern Iraq and also established a military force of 350 Turkoman soldiers. The success of the INTP provoked the emergence of other Turkoman organizations, and beginning in October 1994 the Turkoman political organizations began meeting to create a common front. Finally on 24 April 1995 the Iraqi Turkmen Front was created. On 31 August 1996, the Iraqi government assault on Irbil destroyed the headquarters of the Turkoman parties. This created a certain degree of disorganization, but on 5 February 1997 the Turkoman parties signed a new unity statement giving rise to a Turkoman National Congress. The Congress met in Irbil on the 4-7 October 1997 with the presence of Turkoman organizations from inside and outside Iraq. These were the Iraqi National Turkoman Party, the Turkmeneli Party, the Turkoman Independence Movements, the Turkoman Brotherhood Association, the Turkmeneli Cooperation and Culture Foundation (based in Istanbul), and the Iraqi Turks Culture and Assistance Association (based in Ankara). This convention adopted the new Turkoman flag for the use of both the Congress and the National Front (previously the flag of the INTP, under which the Turkomans entered in the Unrepresented Peoples Organization, had been used). It also created a Supreme Turkoman Congress of 30 members, directed by a president and an executive council, and established procedures for the election of a Turkoman political authority.
Jaume Ollé, 19 February 2003

Flag of Turkoman National Congress

Iraqi Turkomans
image by António Martins-Tuválkin, 9 December 2007

German TV ZDF showed yesterday [18 February 2003] an interview with Mr. Sayah Koregi of the "Irakisch-Turkmenischen Front" (German) and Mrs. Taifa Kasapoglu of the Turkoman cultural center in Irbil. The report was about the risk of a Turkish invasion into northern Iraq after an American invasion. Turkey would maybe try to build up a autonomous area for Turkomans, with Kirkuk, which is also claimed by the Kurds, as its capital. In the background of Mr. Koregi and Mrs. Kasapoglu was a flag different from that the Iraqi National Turkoman Party. It was a little bit darker, the white crescent was thinner and nearly creating a circle, which was completed by six little white stars between the ends of the crescent. No white stripes on this flag.
J. Patrick Fischer, 19 February 2003

The flag you saw on TV I believe is the Turkoman National Congress flag, established as the Turkoman national flag by the congress and recognized now by several Turkoman groups. The flag is like the one you described but with six stars instead four stars. Lacking specifications, the flags must exist with small variations in size and position of the crescent and stars.
Jaume Ollé, 19 February 2003

The flag is similar to the Turkish national flag, with light blue in place of red and six small stars “closing” the crescent instead one large star.
António Martins-Tuválkin, 9 December 2007

Iraqi National Turkoman Party

[Iraqi National Turkoman Party]
image by Tomislav Todorović, 20 November 2014
based on North Cyprus flag by Željko Heimer & Ivan Sache

Variant of flag:
[Iraqi National Turkoman Party]
image by António Martins-Tuválkin, 9 December 2007

This is the flag of the Iraqi National Turkoman Party. You can see this flag at the party website and other Turkoman sites.
Jaume Ollé, 19 February 2003

The flag of the Iraqi National Turkoman Party is like a North Cyprus flag but with light blue for white, white for red, and a centered emblem. In this image formerly at the website, the blue stripes seem to be narrower than the white ones, about 9 and 14, and the extra white stripes (if they're real) are even thinner: ~7+9+14. The star is oddly placed lower than the horizontal midline of the flag, though vertically symmetrical and pointing to the hoist, and the padding distance between the crescent and the upper and lower stripes is not identical; I consider these two specs to be erroneous and corrected them for vertical symmetry in my image.
António Martins-Tuválkin, 9 December 20073

The flag currently presented is only a variant. As stated there, the correct design, which is now predominant according to the photos available on the Web, is that of the flag of North Cyprus with changed colors. The flag seems to be often used by the Turkomans in Syria as well, considering the frequency of its appearing at the websites and individual pages dedicated to them.
Tomislav Todorović, 20 November 2014