Iraqi MP tells of post-Saddam Iraq
By Stacy Jenkins
Conditions for the Turkmen people in northern Iraq are worse now than
before the fall of Saddam Hussein.
That was the message from Dr. Sadettin Ergeç, a member of the Iraqi
Parliament, who visited Farmington Hills Monday as part of his U.S.
trip to raise awareness about the conditions the Turkmen ethnic group
in northern Iraq is facing.
Ergeç also met with U.S. government officials at the State Department
and the National Security Council in Washington D.C. and with United
Nations officials in New York.
He was brought to speak at the Farmington Hills Manor by the
International Visitors Council of Metropolitan Detroit board member
John Akouri, of Farmington Hills, the Assembly of Turkish American
Associations and Farmington Hills resident Nurten Ural, Honorary
Consul General of the Republic of Turkey.
"We thought the Americans needed to hear this," said Ural. "Many
people do not know this. This type of news isn't out there too much.
There's so much going on in Iraq that we don't know about."
Ergeç, who has survived five assassination attempts, said the Turkmen
in northern Iraq are being over-taken by the Kurds, who have moved
into the oil-rich Kirkuk area and destroyed the infrastructure. He
said the Turkmen are not allowed to speak their language and their
government buildings and documents have all been destroyed. They're
represented in Parliament by Ergeç, but he said the U.S. and Coalition
forces are not listening to their needs.
"We were very happy about the Coalition forces stopping Saddam Hussein
we thought the Coalition forces would listen to us because we are
now able to talk," said Ergeç, through a translator. "Unfortunately,
their ears are plugged and they're not listening to us."
He said the Turkmen are non-violent, well educated and business savvy
people who believe in Democracy.
"We all believe in Democracy. We all believe in brotherhood and we all
believe we need a unified Iraq," he said. "Since 2003, everything has
been changed upside down."
He fears a civil war is on the horizon.
"The power keg is going to explode," he said. "Civil war is going to
Iraq has numerous ethnic groups and there is no majority. Instead,
there are many minority groups who are struggling for control.
"The Arabs have ruled Iraq for 80 years; the Kurds have ruled northern
Iraq for 12 years. The time has come for the Turkmen we're still
waiting to rule or least have a part in the administration of Iraq,"
The Turkmen and other ethnic groups in Iraq will wait a long time,
according to Dawud Walid, executive director of the Council on
American-Islamic Relations, based in Southfield.
"Each group in Iraq claims to be the most oppressed," said Walid.
"And, each group has a grievance with another group these are severe
barriers to the healing process of the nation."
Walid said the U.S. occupation in Iraq needs to end and the religious
groups need to accept one another, for there to be a unified Iraq.
"Our nation's occupation in Iraq is a catalyst for sectarian
violence," said Walid.
"It's more than just a political situation, it's a spiritual,
psychological situation that needs to be addressed. The religious
leadership in Iraq needs to come together, because spiritual healing
needs to take place first."
sjenkins @ hometownlife.com | (734) 953-2131
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