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The Turkmen Charter

The Iraqi proposition sailed thorough stormy events that were created by various consecutive brutal dictatorial regimes that subsequently caused considerable hardship in all aspects of the Iraqi social order. Unfortunately, and despite the clear statements of the International Human Rights Declaration that was proclaimed on 10th of December 1948, the assured freedom and respectable life for everyone in the world was not reflected in the progression of events in Iraq for many decades.

The Turkmens had opposed dictatorial and repressive regimes throughout the recent history, which led these governments to marginalize the role of the Turkmen in the political arena and that of decision-making within the government. In order to obtain independence for the country of Iraq during the royal rule, the government pledged allegiance to the League of Nations in May 30th 1932, and hence assured the inclusion of prominent Turkmens in the early governments and confirmed the recognition of the major ethnic groups of Iraq as being made up of Arabs, Kurds and Turkmen. From the commencement of Iraq as a nation, the Turkmen were subjected to excessive oppression and, during the republic era and even under the western protection of Northern Iraq, the Governments established after the invasion and also the authorities of the regional Government and the following Governments, the Turkmen cities were plundered more than once. All these events did not shake the Turkmen citizens' resolve of allegiance to their citizenship, and they kept working with the Arabs, Kurds and Cildo-Asserians to establish a civil order in the country and to build a strong society that practices freedom, provides an honourable living and affords mutual respect to all ethnic components of the nation.

1. Ideology of the Turkmen movement:

The Turkmen movement is an ethnic movement that believes in the moral tenants of Islam and strives to sustain the dignity of the Turkmen and all other Iraqi ethnicities. It rejects all ethnic approaches that admit the superiority of one ethnic group over the others. The Turkmen movement is an inclusive ethnic movement that rejects racism, schisms, and local, regional and national factions.

 It is a civilized foundation that assembles the Turkmen in various cities, towns and villages regardless of their diverse views, under a broad umbrella to guide them to mutual coexistence and brotherhood among the Iraqis.

This is a broad proclamation that embraces all of the vast groups of the Turkmen with its variety of social and/or intellectual opinions, and it also represents an ideological union to confront future events that face all Turkmen citizens.

2. Turkmen’s vision of the Iraqi citizenship:

From the inception of today’s Iraq, the Turkmen were firmly bound to their conviction of being citizens of this nation and of having toiled in their political actions to advance the nation, even though many of the consecutive governments resorted to obstructing their rights and benefits and preventing their intellectuals from reaching the level of decision makers in Iraqi society.

Historically, the Turkmen have proved their allegiance to the Iraqi land and to the nation, and never joined or supported groups or movements that promoted harmful separation of or infidelity to the unity of Iraq. During the previous century there has never been any record of mass departure of the Turkmen from Iraq, even under the most brutal and tyrannical regime.

The Turkmen proudly declared their resentment towards any movement that would disrupt the unity of Iraq and they consider the sacredness of all the Iraqi territories, from the extreme North to the extreme South, which they would defend by any means. As they proclaimed their intention, they also invited all the Iraqi citizens regardless of their ethnicities, factions and ideologies to hold firmly onto this understanding and agreement regarding the principles of preserving the unity of the Iraqi nation.

3. Turkmen citizens’ view of the Iraqi ethnicities:

It is the firm belief of the Turkmen that the ideal solution for the ethnicity problems in Iraq will come to fruition only when the process builds on a solid foundation that embraces all the ethnicities and groups, and considers them all as first class citizens and partners in one nation. Selection of a free and sovereign united government system should be according to the resolve and free will of the Iraqis.

There should be no attempt to push aside any ethnic group or sect of people or exaggerate the role of one group over the others because of certain exceptional states of affairs. Any solution that resorts to and implements the principles of the International Declarations of Human Rights according to the current situation would become a transitional solution, and could not represent wholeheartedly the blessing of the Iraqi people.

The Turkmen citizens affirm their respect for a comprehensive decision by the Iraqis that should take into consideration all the Iraqi ethnic groups who should exercise equal rights in shouldering similar duties in the regions that they inhabit, and that this should be conditional on a credible and just demographic census under the supervision of the United Nations. The Iraqi Turkmen predict a united, democratic, pluralistic and parliamentary Iraq, in which the government will be chosen by a free and credible election according to international standards, and will not be subjected to narrow-minded ethnic determinations in the distribution of authority or governmental positions.

In public service, the Turkmen believe that efficiency, qualifications, experience, and clear vision should become the standard. The Turkmen agree on other solutions that affirm all Iraqi ethnic groups' right to carry out fully all of their national, cultural and administrative rights within principles that prescribe to local self determination or to a decentralized mode of governance or any other organizational system that would provide the Turkmen with automatic equal rights without any discrimination or bias.

 The Turkmen citizens completely realize the current situation of the unfair political manoeuvres that favours the interest of one group over the others, or those that attempt to smear other ethnicities or nationals as conspirators. They vow not to fall into this trap and, they call on other ethnic groups to adopt a similar stance towards the Turkmen citizens of Iraq.

4. The Turkmen’s View on the Arab Nations' Issues:

The Turkmen view the Arab Nation as an important resource that enriches the Turkmen culture. They have been intertwined in the same fabric throughout history, and made to face the same destiny and struggle for coexistence while sharing their cultural and intellectual resources. Thus the Iraqi Turkmen citizens shared the inspirations, feelings and pains of their Arab brothers and stand with them to face the same objectives, especially with regards to Palestine, which is considered an important Arabic, Islamic and regional issue. The Turkmen affirm that the Palestinians should strive to attain all of their legitimate rights and the establishment of a sovereign nation, with Jerusalem as its capital city.

 Furthermore, they hold onto the concept of the rights of all the nations in the Middle East to peaceful coexistence, and support all the Arab Nations intellectual and regional actions and inspirations. They support the successes of the Arab Nations in achieving the goals of freedom and democracy according to systems of their choice. This will definitely influence the outcome of peace and stability in the region and, in return, will lead to security and tranquillity for all the people of the Middle East. The Turkmen movement supports the efforts of the Arab League to sustain the security and sovereignty of the Arab nations, the promotion of alliance and cooperation with the nations of the region, and they strive to strengthen the cultural and intellectual relations with the Turkmen according to the principles of the Arab League and the Cairo Declaration of Denouncement of Racial Discrimination for the year 2001.

The movement also declares to all of their Iraqi Arab brothers to encourage and cooperate in cultural and intellectual arenas by supporting the translations of literary works and intellectual books from the Turkmen language to Arabic. Moreover, they will organize periodic forums that include the participation of Arab and Turkmen elite to enlighten all the citizens on the Turkmen culture, wisdom, literature, folklore, music and theatre.

5. The Turkmen’s View on the Aspiration of the Kurdish Citizens:

The Turkmen movement considers the aspirations of the Kurdish citizens in Iraq to be legitimate, and such as would certainly increase the intellectual and ideological Iraqi alliance. The Turkmen movement considers the Iraqi Kurdish citizens as being a vital element in defending the achievements of the entire nation and, that the Kurdish people as having a reputable heritage, and deserving all their legitimate political, cultural, and national rights, including their rights to self governance, for a united Iraq.

The Turkmen movement holds no animosities or disrespect for the Kurds, and both of their movements are analogous and parallel. In return, the Turkmen expect the same civilized stance from the Kurdish political leadership in respecting the Turkmen’s distinctiveness, and their support for Turkmen aspirations to political, cultural and national rights, without any preferential treatment or favour of one faction over the other.

They expect good will and cooperation in attaining mutual achievements for both the Turkmen and Kurds in Iraq. The Turkmen movement invites the Kurdish leadership and all Kurdish political, cultural, and ideological organizations to a dialogue based on mutual respect and courtesy, and they will reject all sorts of coercion or monopoly regarding the rights of others.

The long and rich history of the coexistence in Northern Iraq between the two peoples, as practiced in their villages and towns, invites the leadership and politicians of both movements to consider seriously the divisive issues, and focus on strengthening the bonds of mutual trust and facilitate cooperation with the Cildo-Asssirians inhabitants of Northern Iraq and all the Arab citizens of the nation. This would lay a strong foundation for building a civilized model for healthy coexistence and integration in the Middle East region.

6. The Turkmen’s View on the Iraqi Governance System:

The Turkmen movement believes firmly in the process of the selection of a form of government that should be decided by the Iraqis without being totalitarian. The Turkmens like other ethnic people of Iraq have rejected such dictatorial regimes in the past, and the movement advocates a democratic system and peaceful utilization of the authority according to a fair and credible election in line with the civilized manner that is practiced in democratic countries.

The Turkmen movement supports a pluralistic, constitutional and democratic republic. The Iraqi constitution should come out of the nation’s consciousness and should assure all Iraqi citizens freedom in practicing their political, civil, social, and cultural privileges. These include freedom of speech exercised in terms of publishing newspapers and magazines, establishing radio and television stations, creating political parties, and the establishment of an intellectual organization within a moral code that would foster unity and prevent divisions within the country.

The Turkmen movement supports a strong central government in the capital of Baghdad, and considers it an assurance for the unity and the stability of Iraq for granting local governments and municipalities the maximum flexibility in governing their affairs. Moreover, the Turkmen movement respects the Iraqi decision of selection of a government system either federal or united, with the condition that such a decision should consider the inclusion of all the ethnic groups of Iraq. Such decisions are vital and grave, and not should be granted to one group; the entire components of the Iraqi nation should be consulted on this issue.

7. The Turkmen’s View on the Religious and Sectarian Diversity:

The Turkmen movement considers that the diversity of religious sects in Iraq has always enriched the religious and the cultural events of the Iraqi Turkmen. Religious beliefs or practices have never been a source of disagreement or intellectual conflict among them.

The Turkmen realize that resorting to the religious practices of following the famous and ancient Islamic scholars is a personal spiritual choice that has contributed to the enrichment of the faith in the hearts of the Muslims. The Turkmens have the same opinion of leaving such matters to individuals or group choice and providing necessary support for religious organizations and places of worship to all Muslim categories.

The Turkmens confirm and believe in the Islamic principles of religious tolerance and respect for others religious characteristics. Citizens of various religious affiliations have lived along with the Turkmen and established humanistic bonds, interacted with them courteously and demonstrated due mutual respect to each other. Among the Turkmen there is a Christian sect that lives in Kirkuk, especially in the historical fortress, and their identity should be revered, and their intellectual contributions and relics protected.

8. The Turkmen’s View on the Neighbouring and Regional Nations:

The Turkmen movement affirms that in order to catch up with the progress of civilization and globalization, Iraq has to continue to work with all nations, especially with the neighbouring and regional countries, to benefit from their intellectual, economic and cultural resources. Iraq should not be in isolation from the rest of the world, but should continue the active role that has been followed since its inception, in cooperating and contributing in both the regional and international arenas according to mutual respect. However, this should not lead to interference in the internal affairs of other nations.

The Turkmen movement desires to see the Iraqi government established a harmoniously broad spectrum of relations, which strengthens the bonds with neighbouring and regional countries. The government should allow people from other countries to visit the holy shrines or the historical sites, and the process of granting permission should adopt a civilized and pragmatic order.

The same should apply to the Iraqi citizens who would like to travel to other countries for religious, business, training and cultural reasons. This should apply to all countries, but particularly to Turkey and Iran. The Turkmen share with Turkey and other Asiatic Turkic speaking nations their culture, language and heritage. Thus they consider improving these relations as important elements for the enhancement of their cultural activities in literature and publishing. The Turkmen categorically reject false assumptions in this direction, and confirm that this relation is absolutely cultural and intellectual and does not have any political merit. The same applies to the relations of other ethnic groups, such as the Arabs in Iraq, as they establish similar ties with neighbouring Arab nations.

The Iraqi Turkmen also call for improving relations with other regional nations in the Caucasus and central Asia to benefit from their cultural and artistic experience. It must be clear that the political decisions of the Iraqi Turkmen originate from the Iraqi land, along with those of other ethnic brethren in the country.

9. The Turkmen’s View on family and Women:

The family is considered the most important pillar of the Iraqi and Turkmen society, and it is the responsibility of the government to provide the family with all the civil rights that maintain its unity and enhance its role in the creation of a unique civil society. The Turkmen view women as the most vital element for the cohesiveness of the family, and to the raising of upright generations.

Therefore, they call for complete support for the rights of the Turkmen and all the Iraqi women, for their protection from exploitation and suppression. Legislation that assures women dignity and rights should be enforced comparable to what has been set for men and in accordance to the articles of the Treaty on the Abolishment of all Forms Discrimination Against Women as adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on December 18, 1979.

The Turkmen movement invites all the government agencies to utilize this civilized course in dealings with family matters, to provide women with a noble status in society and to protect her rights in job markets, ownership, commerce, cultural and social activities.

10. The Turkmen’s View on Education

The implementation of compulsory education at least to middle school level for all the sectors of the Iraqi populace is regard by the Turkmen as an important issue that has to be addressed and achieved by the government with prudence and sensitivity. Private schools that cater for the special needs of various sectors of the society should be considered prudently, and standards set for a complete central administration of such educational institutions for the entire country.

The Turkmen movement strongly advocates the adoption of local languages for teaching in all the sectors of Iraq, with full and sustained governmental support of their curriculum and schools. Furthermore, the Turkmen movement advocates the expansion of vocational education, and the preparation of a technical force that would take an active role in rebuilding Iraq, improving higher education, and utilizing a systematic and statistical means of balancing studies in science and the humanities.

The Turkmen movement also advocates the adoption in all the Turkmen regions of the Turkmen language in teaching at all levels of education, according to an established curriculum with the emphasis on teaching the fundamentals of the language and maintaining selected lessons for Turkmen language and literature in the higher classes. The teaching of Arabic should be maintained at all levels of education. The use of modern (Latin) letters in the study of the Turkmen language as adopted by educators in the field of Turkic languages is preferred.

This will facilitate catching up with progressive trends in education and teaching, as it provides vocal similarities to these languages. Furthermore, special attention should be paid to the study of the Turkmen language in Arabic script, and to obtaining permission for literary forums to publish in these languages, and even to reprint old publications of Turkmen literature for the enrichment of thought and knowledge.

11. The Turkmen’s View on the Economic factors and Market policies:

The Turkmen Movement believes in free economic policies and the adaptation of free market practices to achieve the best economic growth and development in a manor that prevents interferences or monopolies whether from the State or individuals. The Turkmen Movement supports and encourages the movement of assets and free investments as long as it does not affect or harm the national security. In this regard, the Turkmen Movement stresses the limitation of the State’s control on major economic issues and to free the currency policy and privatize the economic activities which were directed by the State like Banking, Insurance, Airways and telecommunication sectors.

The role of the Government in these activities should me be restricted to auditing and other supportive measures that extend the activities of these sectors in order to create the necessary balances that lead to free market practices. The Turkmen Movement calls for the promotion and rehabilitation of national industries. Development of institutions that are required for improving the export means, adoption of the freedom of foreign trade and elimination of restrictions on the imports in order to allow the free market to organize itself with own mechanisms and compete with the imported materials and goods are important issues that need considerable energy and organization.

The Turkmen Movement draws the attention to the importance of establishing a High Planning Authority which supports local industries, promotes the foreign investment and prevents all restrictions on hard currencies in order to reach the suitable flotation value of the Iraqi currency. In the meantime, the Turkmen Movement considers feasibility studies for national projects, separating these industries on wide geographic area within the Iraqi homeland, the use of the raw material with efficiency and introduce into the developing areas of the country vital industrial and service projects in order to achieve proficiency and profit.

Thus the Movement asks for real attention to be paid to Turkmen areas to support and encourage the development of industrial and economic facilities including the petro -chemical industries in the proper parts of the country.

Summary:

All the Turkmen in Iraq are invited to rally behind the articles of this charter, and to support the coalition of actions and cultural affairs. The Turkmen movement firmly believes that all political actions and decisions should sprout genuinely from Iraqi soil and from the reality of the Turkmen presence in Iraq, and should be immune from any external influence whatsoever.

The Iraqi Turkmen are more aware of their affairs, problems and aspirations than others, and they should be the model and motivator of the Iraqi Turkmen. The Turkmen movement earnestly calls on the entire Iraqi population to proceed with the collaboration of the political and cultural movement of the Turkmen.

They should adhere to the principles of this charter, and should present this narration as an assurance for future collaboration with the entire Iraqi population for a free and civilized nation.

 

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