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The Turkmen of Iraq


Note: several alternative spellings are recognised by English dictionaries ...

Turkmen (plural Turkmen, Turkmens) 
(plural Turkomans) 
(plural Turcomans)


The Turkomans of Iraq originally came from central Asia, in a migration that took place over several hundred years, beginning in the 7th century AD. Today, slightly more than two million Turkomans are believed to live in Iraq (mainly in the area shaded blue on the map below). They are Turkish speaking and almost all are Muslims, though there are also about 30,000 Christians.

Source: Turkmen People Party    

Their geographical distribution in Iraq is as follows:

  • Province of Mosul: Telafer, Kadziyeh, Reshidiyeh, Eski Musul, Eski kelek, Muhallebyeh and Shebek. Estimated Turkoman population is 450,000.

  • Province of Erbil: Erbil, Eski Kelek, Altinkopru, Karakus. Estimated Turkoman population is 215,000.

  • Province of Kirkuk: Kerkuk, Tazehurmatu, Dibis, Leylan, Terkelan, Kadir Kerem and Da'kuk (Tavuk). Estimated Turkoman population is 700,000.

  • Province of Salahaddin: Tuzhurmato, Kifri, Bastamli, Suleyman Beg, Karatepe, Amirli, Yenice, Bablan and Karahasan. Estimated Turkoman population is 300,000.

  • Province of Diyala: Hanekin, Mendeli, Kizlarbat (Saadiyeh), Shahraban (Meqdadiah), Jelawla (Karahan), Kazaniah and Bedre. Estimated Turkoman population is 220,000.

  • City of Baghdad: Turkoman population is 300,000. [Source: Tukmen People Party]

More information: Wikipedia

Political background

The Turkomans complain that the Iraqi government does not recognise them as a ethnic minority or allow their language to be used in public. The use of Turkish in schools, government offices and the media was previously allowed under the 1925 constitution, but restrictions began to be imposed from 1972 onwards. 

More recently, the creation of a "safe haven" for the Kurds in northern Iraq after the 1991 Gulf War resulted in additional problems for the Turkomans. It split them into two groups: those dominated by the Kurds and those dominated by the Baghdad regime.

The Turkomans' political importance stems mainly from their affinity with Turkey, which has difficulties with its own Kurdish minority. Turkish support for an American attack on Baghdad would probably be conditional on a protected position for the Iraqi Turkomans under a post-Saddam government.

The main Turkoman political organisations are:

  • Turkmen People Party (TPP)

  • Iraqi National Turkman Party (INTP)

  • Turkemenli Party 

  • Turkmen Islamic Union 



In the Turkmen section


In the diversity section


Quick links

Turkoman links 

Turkmen People Party

Political issues  
(Iraqi Turkman Front)

Turkoman human rights  
(Iraqi Turkman Front)

Turkoman documents  
(Iraqi Turkman Front)

by the Turkmen People Party's temporary administrative board

Turkmen tribes

The Jalayirids 1336-1435

The Akkoyunlu 1375-1468

The Karakoyunlu 1468-1508




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Last revised on 03 August, 2015