Spurred by security threats, a new Turkmen political party in Iraq has demanded that it be allowed to form its own armed force. There is also a political dimension to the initiative; as militarized factions enjoy widespread influence in the country’s politics, talk of Turkmens following suit appeals to parts of the minority community. But divisions in Turkmen politics and the power of existing entities mean that the formation of a new, independent Turkmen armed group is unlikely to be realized.
Impetus for change
The Turkmen National Will Party held its inaugural congress in the capital of the Kurdistan region, Erbil, on Mar. 4. At the gathering, the new political group—which seeks to compete for positions in the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG)—expressed its desire to set up an armed wing. The party asserted, “We are the second largest ethnic group in the [Kurdistan] region [so] we deserve to have our own force [as] we cannot rely on the Kurds to protect us.”
Such rhetoric has increased amid security threats the community has been facing. Frequent Islamic State group (IS) attacks against...
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