Iraqi Turkmens ask for arms from West, demanding equal treatment

Iraqi Turkmens ask for arms from West, demanding equal treatment

Uğur Ergan ANKARA
Iraqi Turkmens ask for arms from West, demanding equal treatment Iraqi Turkmens, one of the largest minority communities affected by the violence in Iraq, are demanding arms to fight the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), a prominent leader of the ethnic group has said as the West begins funneling arms to the Kurds.

Arshad al-Salihi, the head of the Iraqi Turkmen Front (ITC), warned that the Unites States and European Union’s increasing armed support for the Kurdish peshmerga forces could start to change the dynamics in the region.

“The U.S. and EU’s provision of arms support for the Kurds is a good and positive step against the terrorist organization ISIL. However, this help shouldn’t only be lent to Kurds, Turkmens also should be given arms support,” al-Salihi told daily Hürriyet.

The Turkmen leader, who had previously said they would not ask for weapons support from Turkey or any other country, said that if the support was only limited to the Kurds, it would be an indication that there are “other plans and games” behind the decision. 

The West’s stance on supporting the Kurds could be motivated by “plans to divide Iraq into three parts that consist of a Shiite region in the south, a strengthened Kurdish region in the north and a Sunni region in the central Iraq,” he said.

Al-Salihi also said the creation of a special region for Christians and Yazidis on the Nineveh plane could be part of the plans.

The Turkmens will no longer be able to live together and access land if these plans are realized, according to the Turkmen leader.

“It is imposable for us to accept such an understanding,” he said.

He also called on international organizations not to overlook the problems of the Turkmens, claiming that “Turkmens have suffered the biggest life and property loss in Iraq.”

“It wouldn’t be a right approach for the United Nations Security Council to view only Christians and Yazidis as the groups to be helped in Iraq,” he said.