The Religious Doctrines of the Iraqi Turkmen: a Focus on the Shia Turkmen

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Sheth Jerjis
Practically all the Iraqi Turkmen people embrace Islam. Very few of them are Christian; they are called Christians of the Citadel, referring to the Kerkuk citadel, their mother language is Turkmen and they use Turkmen language in their religious ceremonies (Al-Hirmizi 2005a and 2005b, and Samanchi 1999). With time and particularly after evacuation and demolition of the Kerkuk citadel during 1997-1998, they had migrated mainly to Baghdad and out of the country. The history of their presence in Kerkuk extends by some sources to the time of the Mongols of Genghis khan in the 13th century.
Regarding the doctrinal (sectorial) components of the Iraqi Turkmen Muslim majority, they are Sunnis, Shias and a considerable percentage of the extremist Shias (Al-Gulat), such as Shabaks, Kakayis and Ahli Haq, are of Turkmen ethnicity (Moosa 1988).

Historical dimension
The settlement of the Turkmen in Iraq continued throughout multiple centuries, from the reign of the Umayyad dynasty (661–750 CE) to the

Abbasids (750–1258 CE), the Seljuk Empire (1118-1194 CE), Zengid (1127–1233 CE), the two Mongol periods of Genghis khan and Tamerlane (1258-1411 CE), and the Black Sheep (Qara Qoyunlu) (1374-1468 CE) and White Sheep (Aq Qoyunlu) (1470-1508 CE) Turkmen monarchies. Ismail Shah of Safavids (1508-1534 CE) followed Qoyunlu dynasties, and then came the Ottomans (1638-1917 CE) to rule the region (Samanchi 1999).
Most of the sources support the idea that after defeat of Ismail Shah by Salim I of the Ottomans in the battle of Chaldiran in 1514, the Turkmen soldiers of Ismail Shah with their families spread and took root in the north of Iraq. They constituted the only Shia Turkmen who settled in Iraq. Despite that, many sources consider it doubtful; there are sources which support the idea that there were Shia sects in between the Black Sheep Turkmen tribes (Shahmoradi 2013 and Moosa 1988).
Population statistics
The Turkmen are the third largest component of the Iraqi population after the Arab and the Kurd. In addition to being a minority, which per se is a vulnerable community, whose human rights can be easily violated, their presence in a non-democratic nationalist community (Iraqi community) has led to:
• Failure of reflection of their population size in the official Iraqi
statistical reports i.e. census statistics
• Deprivation of cultural and political rights
• Sever demographical changes of their regions
• Exposure to systematic violation of human rights

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this article put in here by permission author(Sheth Jerjis, Chair at the Iraqi Turkmen Human Rights Reseach Foundation (SOITM))

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