Turkish Journalist Kidnapped By Kurdish Forces in North Iraq
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(AINA) -- Mr. Timor Beyatli is a Turkmen1 citizen who is employed by the Turkmeneli2 TV as a news reader at the Arabic section that broadcast from Kirkuk in Iraq.

On 5th of November 2008, Mr Timor Beyatli left the city of Kirkuk and drove to Erbil airport to catch his flight to Istanbul, where he had been invited to participate in a conference about Media and Journalism. Before boarding the airplane he made a call to his family in Turkey informing them that he was on his way to Istanbul and that he would contact them upon his arrival at Istanbul airport. When the plane landed in Istanbul Mr. Timor Beyatli was not among the passengers because he had been abducted just before he got on the plane at Erbil airport by the Kurdish security forces (known as the Asayish3), which belong to the Kurdish leader of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), Massoud Barzani. Mr. Timor Beyatli was transferred from the airport to a prison in the city of Erbil for further investigation.

On the 25th November 2007, Mr. Hassan Turan, a Turkmen member of the governing council of Kirkuk, was arrested by the Kurdish Asayish at Erbil airport in northern Iraq following his return from participation in the international conference that was held in Istanbul under the name of Kudus and International Conjunction.

On Saturday 27th October 2007, Mr. Qasim Sari Kahya, a Turkmen writer, journalist and Secretary Editor for the Fraternity Club of Kardeslik in Baghdad, was abducted along with another three Turkmen citizens near the Kirkuk General Hospital by the Kurdish security forces known as Asayish. Several hours later, three of the detainees were released, but Mr. Qasim was kept for further interrogation.

On 8th of July 2007, Mr. Lokman Nejam Ahmed, a Turkmen (born on 1st July 1968 in the district of Telkeef, which is linked to the city of Mosul) was arrested on the Iraqi/Turkish border Ibrahim Alkhalil by the Kurdish secret police (Asayish) while he was traveling from the city of Mosul to Turkey with a group of Turkmens from the city of Erbil.

Because of the public, political and journalistic outrage and due to the media appeal. Mr. Tamur Beyatli was released on 7th November 2008. He was released without charges and his case has not been submitted to the court.

Thus, the Turkmens request to all the human right organisations, government officials, intellectuals, and Iraqi and Turkish government for immediate intervention to put pressure on the Kurdish police who are terrorizing the Turkmen people in Turkmeneli.

Turkmen of Iraq also call upon the Iraqi Journalists Union, and all Iraqi and international organizations defending the rights of journalists, to move immediately to the authorities of the Iraqi government at the highest levels for the protection of the Turkmen, Arabs and Assyrians from the Kurdish oppression that are carried by Kurdish parties in North of Iraq.

By Mofak Salman

Mofak Salman is Turkmeneli Party Representative for Both Ireland and United Kingdom.


1 Turkmen: The Iraqi Turkmen live in an area that they call "Turkmenia" in Latin or Turkmeneli" which means, "Land of the Turkmen. It was referred to as "Turcomania" by the British geographer William Guthrie in 1785. The Turkmen are a Turkic group that has a unique heritage and culture as well as linguistic, historical and cultural links with the surrounding Turkic groups such as those in Turkey and Azerbaijan. Their spoken language is closer to Azeri but their official written language is like the Turkish spoken in present-day Turkey. Their real population has always being suppressed by the authorities in Iraq for political reasons and estimated at 2%, whereas in reality their numbers are more realistically between 2.5 to 3 million, i .e. 12% of the Iraqi population.

2 Turkmeneli is a diagonal strip of land stretching from the Syrian and Turkish border areas from around Telafer in the north of Iraq, reaching down to the town of Mendeli on the Iranian border in Central Iraq. The Turkmen of Iraq settled in Turkmeneli in three successive and constant migrations from Central Asia, this increased their numbers and enabled them to establish six states in Iraq.

3 Asayish is an unrecognized and illegitimate force that is utilized by both Kurdish parties to terrorize innocent civilian people. They are used to kidnap and kill people who defy the Kurdish aspiration for establishing a Kurdish state.

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