“We have not acquired any rights since 2003... Despite having seven seats in the Iraqi Parliament, our influence in the central government is insufficient,” Kirkuk Deputy and Iraq-Turkey Parliamentary Friendship Group Chairman, Jale Yunus Neftci, told an AA correspondent on Wednesday.
Turkmens currently have seven members of parliament and two ministers in the central Iraqi government. In the Kurdish administration in northern Iraq, they have four members of parliament and one minister.
“We will endeavor to double the number of deputies we currently have,” deputy chairman of the Turkmeneli Associations Federation, Aydin Beyatli, stressed.
In December, Turkmen political parties decided to run as as single group, the Kirkuk Turkmen Front List, in the forthcoming elections.
Turkmen leaders have been subjected to assassination attempts, with Iraqi Turkmen Front Chairman Arshad al-Salihi surviving an attempt in December whereas deputy head Ali Hashim Mukhtaroglu was killed in a suicide attack in June.
Noting that Turkmens have been murdered, exiled and assimilated throughout Iraq's history, including under late ruler Saddam Hussein, Aydin Beyatli expressed hope that brotherhood would strengthen in the country.
The Turkish government's support is very important for Turkmens, Neftci said, adding, “We are worried about the upcoming elections. There are security threats and explosions every day in [Iraq's] Turkmen region.”