Iraq's Turkmen fear impact of attacks on voter turnout

BAGHDAD – The representative of Iraq's Turkmen in the government on Sunday expressed fears that ongoing attacks on his community would eventually affect their participation in the upcoming parliamentary elections.

"The security situation in the areas where most Turkmen live has not improved," Minister of State for Provinces Affairs Torhan al-Mufti told Anadolu Agency.

"There are no real solutions for the security crisis," he added.

Iraq's parliamentary elections are scheduled for April 30.

But al-Mufti and other Turkmen shudder at the prospect of a low Turkmen voter turnout in view of an ongoing Iraqi army offensive against militants in the western Anbar province and the northern Saladin and Nineveh provinces.

Turkmen, especially in the northeastern region of Tuz Khormato, have been targeted by repeated attacks using explosive charges and booby-trapped cars.

At least 31 Tuz Khormato residents, including 22 Turkmen, were killed in February, according to medical sources.

Al-Mufti expressed fears that attacks would continue until the elections time, which would affect voter turnout.

"We are worried about Turkmen voter turnout in view of the current security conditions in Tuz Khormato and Kirkuk," he told AA.

The minister said Turkmen are subjected to what he described as "genocide," particularly in Tuz Khormato.

The government has proposed turning Tuz Khormato into an independent province but the decision was opposed by the administration of Saladin province, which considered it an attempt to split the province.   

By Senan Adnan

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