Iraqi Turkmen Front
|Iraqi Turkmen Front|
|Irak Türkmen Cephesi
الجبهة التركمانية العراقي
Al-Jabhat Al-Turkmaniyah Al-Iraqi
|Spokesperson||Ali Sadık Mehdi|
|Honorary Leader||Sadettin Ergeç|
|Deputy President||Hasan Turan|
|Founded||April 24, 1994|
Iraqi Turkmens' interests
|Seats in the Council of Representatives of Iraq:|
|Politics of Iraq
The Iraqi Turkmen Front (Turkish: Irak Türkmen Cephesi, Arabic: الجبهة التركمانية العراقي Al-Jabhat Al-Turkmaniyah Al-Iraqi) is a political movement founded in 1995 which seeks to represent the Turkmen people of Iraq. Since the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003, the ITF has contested control of Kirkuk and other areas of northern Iraq (However inoficially controlled by Kurdish Regional Government since 2014.).
The ITF claims a region named Turkmeneli (literally meaning the "land of the Turkmens") as the homeland by the Iraqi Turkmens. Turkmeneli includes within its boundaries Kirkuk, Tel Afar, Erbil, Mandali, Mosul, and Tuz Khormato.
Currently, ITF plays an active role in the ongoing Iraqi insurgency and fight against ISIL to protect the claimed region of Turkmeneli (especially Kirkuk and surroundings) and the Iraqi Turkmen population living inside.
Lately, on March 15, 2015, it was declared by ITF Member of Parliament Aydın Maruf, that; an official Turkmen Brigade of the Iraqi army will be created in the near future, starting with 500 men and then growing up to 1500 in short time for the defense of Tel'afar, Kifri and other major Turkmen settlements from ISIL and also for the planned offense of the areas which are officially under Iraqi Government control like Mosul against ISIL in the ongoing Iraqi insurgency. It was also stated that the brigade that will include at least 1500 Turkmen fighters in the first stage, was already being trained unofficially by Turkish Special Forces Command in Kirkuk, and from now on Turkish Armed Forces will train the Turkmen fighters officially and an Iraqi Turkmen commander will be in charge of the brigade in the ongoing fight. This official agreement between ITF, Iraqi Government and KRG will be guaranteed officially by the Republic of Turkey. Maruf also told that this was an important step for the future of Iraqi Turkmens and Tukmeneli.
Also on March 15, 2015, the official Turkmen governor of Mosul before the ISIL took over the city, Esil Nuceyfi, recently stated and confirmed that the Turkish Special Forces, especially Maroon Berets and military specialists were already training Turkmens in Kirkuk and surrounding areas, before (the agreement was made betwwen ITF and other officials). He added that Turkish Forces are also training the Syrian Turks to protect their settlements and to join the fight with Syrian Turkmen Brigades in some secretly located camps. Nuceyfi also gave more information saying that Turkish officials have told that military supplies and weapons will be sent to Turkmens in Iraq and Syria in the near future but he isn't acquainted about the exact amount and date. He finally said that besides the Turkmens they train, the Turkish Army's official decision to join the Mosul offensive that is currently being planned against ISIL, itself, will be determined after their talks with the coalition forces. Later that day, Turkish 'officials' in Ankara confirmed the statements of Esil Nuceyfi, including the future of the training of Turkmens both in Iraq and Syria which was already taking place unofficially before this agreement point that ITF and other officials have reached.
The ITF is a coalition of the following political parties:
- Iraqi National Turkmen Party (INTP), founded in 1988 and operated in the northern Iraqi no-fly zones
- Turkmeneli Party, founded in 1992 in Northern Cyprus as the Turkmen Union Party
- Provincial Turkmen Party
- Movement of the Independent Turkmen
- Iraqi Turkmen Rights Party
- Turkmen Islamic Movement of Iraq
In the Iraqi legislative election, December 2005, the ITF list (#630) polled 76,434 votes, or 0.7% nationwide, according to the uncertified published results. The overwhelming majority of those votes were cast in Kirkuk Province, where the ITF won more than 10% of the total. Most of the rest of the ITF's votes were in Salah ad Din province. According to the full official results of that election, the ITF is entitled to only one seat in the permanent National Assembly. The party has been funded deeply by the Turkish administration and military.
In the aftermath of the first Iraqi parliamentary election in 2005, the ITF lodged a number of formal complaints to the Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq alleging vote fraud on the part of the Kurdish parties and protesting the Commission's decision to allow Kurdish internally displaced persons and refugees to vote in the places from which they had been expelled under Saddam Hussein. In the election, they received just over 90,000 votes, or 1.1% of votes cast, earning them three seats in the transitional National Assembly of Iraq.
In the 2009 Iraqi Kurdistan legislative election, most Turkmens boycott the elections. The ITF polled just 7,077 votes, or 0.38% of the popular vote, winning 1 seat.
In the 2010 Iraqi national elections, the ITF has entered into an alliance with the Iraqi National Movement (Iraqiya) in the Governorate of Kirkuk. Iyad Allawi's Iraqiya List which the ITF candidates have taken part in, has won the elections in the governorate over the list of Patriotic Union of Kurdistan in total votes. The ITF candidate in the Turkmen stronghold of Kirkuk, Erşad Salihi, won 59,732 votes all by himself. This was second only to Khalid Shwani of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, who won 68,522 votes. The other candidates of ITF who have entered the parliament from ITF lists and different lists were as following, Erşad Salihi (Kirkuk), Jale Çiftçi (Kirkuk), İzzettin Devle (Mosul) who was appointed as the Minister of Agriculture, Nebil Harbo (Mosul), Müdrike Ahmet (Mosul) and Hasan Özmen (Diyala) and 4 more including Turhan Müftü who was appointed as the Minister of the Governorates. The ITF has won a total of 127,989 votes in general in Iraq, increasing their total vote cast by 34,600.
ITF has decided to enter the latest Kurdish Regional Government Elections which took place in late 2013, too. ITF has made up one list and got the highest vote in Erbil making Aydın Maruf the ITF Turkmen member of parliament from Erbil in KRG Parliament.
In the latest Iraqi parliamentary election in 2014, the ITF has protected its total parliament member count of 10 and protecting the number of their directly elected number of candidates from ITF-Turkmen lists(without alliances) but also increasing the total number of ITF parliamenters to 3, as a result of the victory of the ITF member who participated in Muttahidun Lil'Islah List, Hena Asğar, in Tuz Khormato, a major Turkmen settlement located in the Tooz District of the Governorate of Saladin. ITF tried hard to make all Turkmens cast their votes but they couldn't change the situation a lot, when compared to the previous elections and the ISIL advance in Iraq was shown as the main reason for this. The movement's leader Erşad Salihi(Kirkuk) and deputy Hasan Turan(Kirkuk) has been elected as members of parliament from ITF's own list; Kirkuk Turkmen Front List, headed by party's deputy Hasan Turan. ITF's, Kirkuk Turkmen Front List was the second in the Governorate of Kirkuk, winning 71,492 votes, nearly 13% of the total votes in Kirkuk Governorate. Although there was a second Turkmen list named Kirkuk Turkmen Alliance, participating in elections in Kirkuk; the votes of ITF in Kirkuk have increased about 3,000 when compared to the received votes of ITF candidates in the 2010 elections. The total vote received by Turkmen lists, nevertheless it was almost fully received by the ITF's Turkmen List, have increased too. There were 7 other non-ITF Turkmen candidates who were elected to the parliament from various lists. The biggest surprise was the 3 Turkmens getting elected in the Saladin Governorate, including the first ITF parliament member of Tuz Khormato, from a non-ITF list, Hena Asğar.
- Raber Tal’at Jawhar. "The Iraqi Turkmen Front". Retrieved February 26, 2012.
- Anderson & Stansfield 2009, 57.
- Anderson & Stansfield 2009, 16.
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