A map of Turkmeneli on a monument in Altun Kupri (Turkish: Altınköprü).
An Iraqi Turkmen youth holding a Turkmeneli scarf.

Turkmeneli, also known as Turkmenland,[1] and historically as Turcomania,[2] (Turkish: Türkmeneli, lit.'Land of the Turkmens'), and East Turkmeneli (Doğu Türkmeneli)[3] is a political term[2] used to define the vast swath of territory in which the Iraqi Turkmens historically have had a dominant population.[4] The term incorporates the Iraqi Turkmen homelands running from Iraq's border with Turkey and Syria and diagonally down the country to the border with Iran.[2] It is sometimes referred to as East Turkmeneli to distinguish from the Syrian Turkmen homeland, known as West Turkmeneli.[3] Apart from the designation of the region as Turcomania in a 1785 map by William Guthrie, there's no certain mention of the region in published works until the establishment of the Iraqi Turkmen Front.[2]

In particular, the Turkmen/Turkoman consider the capital of Turkmeneli to be disputed city of Kirkuk and its boundaries also include Tal Afar, Mosul (second largest city in Iraq), Erbil , Mandali, and Tuz Khurmatu.[5][6] According to Liam Anderson and Gareth Stansfield, the Turkmen/Turkoman note that the term "Turcomania" – an Anglicized version of "Turkmeneli" – appears on a maps of the region published by William Guthrie and Adolf Stieler, however, there is no clear reference to Turkmeneli until the end of the twentieth century.[2]

The Turkmen homeland

The Iraqi Turkmen/Turkomans generally consider several major cities, and small districts associated with these cities, as part of their homeland.[7] The major cities claimed to be a part of Turkmeneli, in a north-to-south order, include: Mosul, Erbil, Kirkuk, Tuz Khurmatu (maybe sometimes even Tikrit) and Tal Afar, Sancar Altun Kupri, Kifri, Khanaqin, Kizil Ribat, Bakuba and Mendeli.[7] Consequently, the Turkmeneli region lies between the Arab areas of settlement to the south and Kurdish areas to the north.[7]

Prospects of an autonomous region

An Iraqi Turkmen man climbs a pole in Kirkuk for a photo with a flag of Turkmeneli
Iraqi Turkmen woman holding a placard written in Turkish: "Kerkük'ü hiçbir güç Kürtleştiremez" (No power can Kurdify Kirkuk).

According to Khalil Osman there has been "a raft of federalist schemes" proposed by various Turkmen/Turkoman political parties.[6] For example, one controversial proposal to set up Turkmeneli as a Turkmen/Turkoman autonomous region included the areas northwest of Iraq, from Tal Afar in Nineveh Governorate, through Kirkuk Governorate and Tuz Khurmatu District in Saladin Governorate in north-central Iraq, to Mandali in the Diyala Governorate in the northeast of Baghdad.[6]

Vahram Petrosian suggests that the Iraqi Turkmen Front's (ITF) forwarding of the idea of the recognition of Turkmeneli may pave the way for a future Kurdish-Turkmen conflict.[8]

In 2016 Wassim Bassem reported that the Turkmen/Turkoman have been calling for their own independent province in the Tal Afar district.[9] Their demands had coincided with calls for the establishment of other new provinces for the Christian and the Yazidi minorities.[9]

On 17 July 2017, Turkmen representatives proposed that Tal Afar and Tuz Khurmatu become an autonomous Turkmen region and asked for a "special status" for Kirkuk at a summit in Baghdad under the name "Future of Turkmens in United Iraq".[10] They also called for "training and equipping the Turkmen Hashd al-Shaabi forces."[11]


See also


  1. ^ Rich, Paul J. (2008), Iraq and Rupert Hay's Two Years in Kurdistan, Lexington Books, p. x, ISBN 978-1461633679
  2. ^ a b c d e Anderson & Stansfield 2009, p. 56.
  3. ^ a b "DOĞU TÜRKMENELİ'DE BATI TÜRKMENELİ'YE ZİYARET". Archived from the original on 9 December 2023.
  4. ^ Strakes, Jason E. (2009), "Current Political Complexities of the Iraqi Turkmen", Iran & the Caucasus, 13 (2), Brill Publishers: 369, doi:10.1163/157338410X12625876281505
  5. ^ Anderson & Stansfield 2009, p. 57.
  6. ^ a b c Osman, Khalil (2015), Sectarianism in Iraq: The Making of State and Nation Since 1920, Routledge, p. 243, ISBN 978-1317674870
  7. ^ a b c Oğuzlu, Tarik H. (2004), "Endangered community:The Turkoman identity in Iraq", Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs, 24 (2), Routledge: 313, doi:10.1080/1360200042000296681, hdl:11693/49129, S2CID 56385519
  8. ^ Petrosian, Vahram (2003), "The Iraqi Turkomans and Turkey", Iran & the Caucasus, 7 (1/2), Brill Publishers: 305, doi:10.1163/157338403X00150
  9. ^ a b Bassem, Wassim (2016). "Iraq's Turkmens call for independent province". Al-Monitor.
  10. ^ Iraqi Turkmen to propose "special status" for Kirkuk, Anadolou Agency
  11. ^ Iraq meeting tackles Turkmens' future in post-Daesh era, Anadolou Agency


Further reading

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