Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Walid meets with Iraqi leader

http://www.hometownlife.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070703/NEWS06/70703004/1023

Iraqi MP tells of post-Saddam Iraq
By Stacy Jenkins
Staff writer

Conditions for the Turkmen people in northern Iraq are worse now than before the fall of Saddam Hussein.

That was the message from Dr. Sadettin Ergeç, a member of the Iraqi Parliament, who visited Farmington Hills Monday as part of his U.S. trip to raise awareness about the conditions the Turkmen ethnic group in northern Iraq is facing.

Ergeç also met with U.S. government officials at the State Department and the National Security Council in Washington D.C. and with United Nations officials in New York.

He was brought to speak at the Farmington Hills Manor by the International Visitors Council of Metropolitan Detroit board member John Akouri, of Farmington Hills, the Assembly of Turkish American Associations and Farmington Hills resident Nurten Ural, Honorary Consul General of the Republic of Turkey.

“We thought the Americans needed to hear this,” said Ural. “Many people do not know this. This type of news isn’t out there too much. There’s so much going on in Iraq that we don’t know about.”

Ergeç, who has survived five assassination attempts, said the Turkmen in northern Iraq are being over-taken by the Kurds, who have moved into the oil-rich Kirkuk area and destroyed the infrastructure. He said the Turkmen are not allowed to speak their language and their government buildings and documents have all been destroyed...

The Turkmen and other ethnic groups in Iraq will wait a long time, according to Dawud Walid, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, based in Southfield.

“Each group in Iraq claims to be the most oppressed,” said Walid. “And, each group has a grievance with another group — these are severe barriers to the healing process of the nation.”

Walid said the U.S. occupation in Iraq needs to end and the religious groups need to accept one another, for there to be a unified Iraq.

“Our nation’s occupation in Iraq is a catalyst for sectarian violence,” said Walid.

“It’s more than just a political situation, it’s a spiritual, psychological situation that needs to be addressed. The religious leadership in Iraq needs to come together, because spiritual healing needs to take place first.”(MORE)

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