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Iraqi Turkmen feel abandoned by Turkey

Many Iraqi Turkmen claim Turkey has given priority to its relations with the Kurdistan Regional Government at their expense.
Iraqi Shi'ite Turkmen fighters take part in an intensive security deployment in the town of Taza, south of the northern oil city of Kirkuk, June 19, 2014. The United States is contemplating talks with its arch-enemy Iran to support the Iraqi government in its battle with Sunni Islamist insurgents who routed Baghdad's army and seized the north of the country in the past week. REUTERS/Stringer (IRAQ - Tags: CIVIL UNREST POLITICS) - RTR3UORW
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ERBIL, Iraq – The turmoil in Iraq has left the Turkmen community squeezed. On top of Turkey’s new policy that encourages them to side with the Kurds, the peshmerga forces of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) have assumed defense of a number of Turkmen settlements. While Sunni Turkmen criticize Ankara for abandoning its red lines, their Shiite kin blame it for the insurgency led by the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) and Sunni tribes.

The Shiite arguments point to the logistical support ISIS receives at the Turkish-Syrian border and Turkey’s protection against extradition of Tariq al-Hashemi, a former Iraqi vice president who is supportive of the Sunni rebellion. The Sunni Turkmen, for their part, believe that Turkey has forsaken the Turkmen community to avoid damaging its developing strategic ties with the KRG.

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