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Fleeing atrocities, Iraqi Turkmens turned away at Turkey's border

Kasim Kara, the Turkmen Front spokesman in Iraq, says Turkey did not open its borders to the Turkmens while allowing entry to more than 1.5 million Syrians.
Shi'ite Turkmen children, whose families fled the violence in Mosul, play at a school in the town of Nahrawan, east of Baghdad, July 16, 2014. Baghdad has struggled to recapture territory from the insurgents who seized Mosul, Tikrit and other cities last month in a rapid offensive which threatens to fragment Iraq on ethnic and sectarian lines.   REUTERS/Mahmoud Raouf Mahmoud (IRAQ - Tags: CIVIL UNREST POLITICS) - RTR3YWMV

After 2005, when sectarian strife started to slowly rip apart Iraq, the plight of Turkmens has been the most ignored tragedy — even in Turkey. With the Islamic State (IS) taking control of Mosul and Tal Afar early June, Turkmens are once again left without support to face their own destiny. 

It was Turkey’s presidential hopeful Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu who reminded the Turks on July 21 that as they cry their hearts out for the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, they should also remember their ethnic brothers, the Turkmens, in Iraq. “Iraqi Turkmen leaders came to visit me [July 20], and told me such horrifying stories. They talked about a Turkmen girl of 13 [or] 14 years old being gang-raped [by IS members] while being filmed, and then she was hung to death from an electric pole. They told me stories about the kind of violence the Turkmens face,” Ihsanoglu said. “They are there with no water or food. They have no place to sleep. Yet, there is no word here in Turkey about them, and we keep talking only about Gaza.” 

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