Calls for high voter turnout among Iraqi Turkmens in Turkey

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Speaking to Yeni Şafak daily, a parliament hopeful noted that May 12 will be a victory day for all Kurds, Arabs, Turkmens and other minorities, if ballots reflect the will of the Iraqi people

As Iraqis prepare to head to the polls in the upcoming May 12 parliamentary elections, calls were issued to ensure a high voter turnout among the country’s Turkmens residing in Turkey and abroad in the first elections held after the defeat of Daesh and Brazani’s terror plans for the country.

Speaking to Yeni Şafak daily, Nureddin Polat, a candidate for a Mosul seat in parliament, noted that May 12 will be a victory day for all Kurds, Arabs, Turkmens and other minorities, if ballots reflect the will of the Iraqi people despite all obstacles.

Attempts to undermine the will of the people

Polat pointed out that the ongoing crisis in Iraq began in 2003 when the United States invaded the country and plunged it into the unknown, adding that there are ongoing attempts to subvert the will of the people.

“If voter turnout is high and if people closed in ranks after the elections, it will enable us to hold accountable those with malicious aspirations for Iraq.”

A decisive election

Polat said that the lack of unity among Iraqi Turkmens is a major problem facing the community. “It is necessary to realize the gravity of the situation, that it is a threat to the survival of Turkmens in Iraq. Another serious problems is that none of our candidates formed a single list. The fact that we couldn’t go into the elections with single list under the umbrella of the Turkmen Front has a negative impact on political, military and political decisions that directly affect us. “

Everyone’s responsibility

In his interview with Yeni Şafak daily, Polat called on Turkmens residing in Turkey and abroad to take part in the upcoming elections.

“It’s everyone’s duty. There are Iraqis in 40 provinces in Turkey alone. The majority of them are Turkmen. Please head to the polls and safeguard your future. As both Iraqis and Iraqi Turkmens, we can foil the ploys hatched against us by protecting our will. This is how foreign projects are foiled,” he said.

Polling stations set up in six provinces

Iraqis in Turkey will go to polls from May 10 to 11 as polling stations have been set up in Istanbul, Ankara, Yalova, Sakarya, Çorum and Mersin.

40,000 of Kirkuk residents blocked from voting

Nureddin Polat noted that the Iraqi government allowed for the set-up of ballot boxes in only six provinces in order to ensure low voter turnout in the elections

“We ask the Turkish Foreign Ministry for assistance in this matter. If the required pressure were to be applied, the number of polls can be increased,” he said.

No updated voter list

There is currently no updated list of voters in Iraq. The lists are being prepared through rations cards, which were issued in 1992 during the Saddam era. Turkmens stand to suffer the most from this injustice as there are over 200,000 Turkmens who reside in camps or abroad who are unable to vote, thus the issue of Turkmen representation in the 328-seat Iraqi Parliament poses a serious problem during the upcoming elections.

As election day draws near, 40,000 residents of the regions that were recovered from Daesh south of Kirkuk were not issued voter cards. Obeid Tribe Chairman in Kirkuk Gassan Asi said that they were concerned about the political motives behind the move as it would impact the elections. Asi also warned that voter cards may be used by others to tip the balance in the elections.

The city’s Arabs blamed the Kirkuk Branch of the Iraqi Election Commission for not issuing cards. According to the distribution of the population in Iraq, where there are 24 million registered voters, Kirkuk can elect 13 deputies.

Voting is a national duty

Kirkuk Foundation President Erşat Hürmüzlü stressed the importance of the vote of Iraqi Turkmens living in Turkey ahead of the general elections in Iraq that is slated to be held on May 12. Hürmüzlü called on Iraqi Turkmens to head to the polls, saying: “We regard voting for those who are over 18 years of age in Turkey as a national duty. We’re very hopeful about the outcome. Abstaining from voting greatly damages this cause.”

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