Richard Melson

December 2004



The Turkomans are considered the third ethnic nationality in Iraq. The settlement of the Turkomans started in Mesopotamia in the ninth century at the time of the Abbasid Caliph Al-Mu'tassim. The Turkomans of Iraq still inhabit the North and Middle of Iraq at the provinces of Musul, Erbil, Kerkuk and Deyalah. The Turkomans are originally Turkic people who speak different dialect of Turkish language.

Early to mid 7th century, as nomadic tribes from Central Asia and Azerbaijan. This group began to settle at the foot of the montainsin Northern Iraq and was a continuation of wave of migration by Turkmen tribes coming from present day Azerbaijan and Central Asia. This migration would continue steadily for several hundred years and increase dramatically at the height of the Great Selcuk empire.

Early 8th century soldiers and officers were recruited to serve in the Abbasides army and as palace guards. The recruitment of these Turks increased sharply during the reign of Al Mu'tasim (833-842), who himself was born of a Turkish mother. These Turks gained political power with the assasination of Al-Mutawakkil in 861, and the installment of Al-Muntasirin his place. This coup detat was led by Bugha the junior. The Abbasid Caliphate was ruled by Turks from here on, with successive Caliphs being installed and removed as mere figureheads until the arrivel of the Mongols.

Mid 13th century, the coming of Mongols. The majority of Mongol soldiers were Turks recriuted from Central Asian tribes. These men caused great devastation in Iraq but later settled in the area and assimilated with the population or maintained their language.

Early 16th century, the Azerbaijan Turks invade Baghdad under Shah Ismail and rule for a short period. This period brought the settlement of Turks of Azerbaijan origin in the area of Baghdad as well as Najaf and Karbala. These main periods brought the Turks to Iraq who would eventually be called Turkoman. The Turks have ruled Iraq from 833 to 1924.

Most of Turkoman are Sunni-Muslim, some of them are Shi'i and around 30.000 Christian Turks live in Iraq, called "kale gavuru."

For centuries , the Turkomans territories were considered a buffer zone seperating the Arabs from the Kurds. Mutual social, religious, economic and political factors had considerably influenced the relations and distrubition of the population in the area. The majority of the Turkomans in Iraq reside in the series of cities, towns and villages along a wide strip of Iraq's territories extending from southeast of Baghdad on the Iranian border and in a northwest fashion to the Turkish-Syrian borders. The city of Kerkuk is the largest city. The population of the Turkomans in Iraq is estimated to be : 2.5 millions.

Province of Musul: Telafer, Kadziyeh, Reshidiyeh, Eski Musul, Eski kelek, Muhallebyeh and Shebek. (40% Turkoman, 55% Arab and 5% Kurd) Estimated Turkoman population is 450.000.

Province of Erbil: Erbil, Eski Kelek, Altinkopru, Karakus and Koysancak. (55% Kurd, 35% Turkoman and 5% Arab) Estimated Turkoman population is 215.000.

Province of Al-Tamim: Kerkuk, Tazehurmatu, Dibis, Leylan, Terkelan, Kadir Kerem and Da'kuk (Tavuk). (65% Turkoman, 15% Kurd and 10% Arab) Estimated Turkoman population is 300.000.

Province of Salahaddin: Tuzhurmato, Kifri, Bastamli, Suleyman Beg, Karatepe, Amirli, Yenice, Bablan and Karahasan. (60% Turkoman) Estimated Turkoman population is 300.00.

Province of Diyala: Hanekin, Mendeli, Kizlarbat (Saadiyeh), Shahraban (Meqdadiah), Jelawla (Karahan), Kazaniah and Bedre. (33% Turkoman, 5% Kurd and 62% Arab) Estimated Turkoman population is 220.000.

In the city of Baghdad, Turkoman populatin is 300.000.

There are approxiamtely 350.000 Assyrians in North Iraq. 150.000 of those live in the United nations protected area.

Come, let's know each other Let's make things easy Let's love, let's be loved This world will remain to no one

Yunus Emre

Kerkuk Global Turkmen Media Group
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