Al Jazeera World – Syrian Turkmen: Fighting to Survive

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The Turkmen are an ethnic minority in Syria whose ancestors were Turkic peoples who fanned out across Central and East Asia in the 11th century. The Ottomans encouraged them to migrate south, so when the Ottoman Empire was divided after World War I, their descendants found themselves in the very north of Syria, close to the Turkish border.

President Bashar al-Assad’s Syria is a secular, socialist republic and in pursuing a policy of “Arab unity”, it doesn’t recognise many, if any, ethnic minorities. As such, the Turkmen suffered institutional discrimination over religion, employment and education for many years and were forbidden from writing and publishing in their native Turkish dialect.

When they took part in the March 2011 uprising against the Syrian government, they suffered harassment, attacks, arrests and torture.

“The [government’s] prisons are two levels below ground,” says Adil Orli, commander of Camp 1071, a training facility in the Turkmen Mountain region near the Turkish border.

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43 COMMENTS

  1. Turkmens are not lıke ısıs or ypg.They are not fıghtıng to occupy somewhere.They dıdnt even saıd they are ındependent.They only want to not get kılled.

  2. Turkmen, came from Central Asia to the Middle East, created new Turkish countries, fights and murders local Arab and oppress Kurds
    You are the Israelis of the East
    No wonder you both are close allies

  3. Turkish spirit is married to the feeling of being discriminated. Turks: Arrogant, hateful, violent, religious extremists and always being discriminated and dishonored. I am from Germany, believe me i know what i am talking about.

    What are they doing to the kurds ?
    What are they doing to the christians ?
    What have they done to the armenian people ?!

  4. Syria is an Arab country! You can't change this fact! If you don't like it or seeking anything to pleasure Turkey not the Arab world you must leave! Mongolia is your home!

  5. They are tired of eating nothing but beans, although the lady in the background in the house of the man who is being interviewed near the beginning is certainly well fed, but even if all the soldiers have is beans, they sure have some nice expensive weapons there.

    I can't support anyone the US arms and supports, because of the US track record. To the Turkmen, i would say support the Syrian government, make contact with them and say you want to join forces, and work together to defeat the foreigners and their ISIS and Al Nusra and other similar groups that they are using and have empowered and armed and funded and created power vacuums for. Don't be one of those groups the foreigners are using for their own purposes. they will wipe you out in a heartbeat if your interests are not in support of theirs. That's not a road to empowering your people.

    Join the supporters of Assad, and you will be given medals by Syria for your heroism and patriotism and martyrdom, and you will find that you will then be, as long as your loyalty is clear, one of the "recognized minorities," one of the minorities that have spoken well of the Assad government's treatment of them and have pleaded with people outside to stop supporting those "rebels" who are persecuting them and killing their people, the US and its allies who say they care about minorities and are against Islamic fundamentalism, it's all bull, i've been around too long to believe any of it.

    The main force fighting ISIS and similar in Syria is the Syrian government , its army and its supporters. Join them and you will be a recognized minority in Syria and will receive promotions and jobs, especially in the post war environment where the Syrian government will be making progress with sharing power, but it will be gradual because in the post war environment, security will continue to be a fragile condition, that's the way it goes in countries under foreign threat, rich foreigners who have more than enough money to pay mercenaries to be traitors, in a country that will have to rebuild its economy so that mercenary pay will be a lot better than the ordinary job in Syria.

    Security will be a problem for the government, so make it really clear which she you are on. The Syrian government, after the war, will have the responsibility of protecting the public from a flaring up of what it has just been put through by you people, the violent foreign armed and paid, "rebels," who have joined forces against the government.

    Become a loyal part of Syria, support Syria, Erdogan is not your friend. The US is not your friend. They are using you like you are using them, but don't overestimate your value to them. Join your country, Syria, in forcing out these foreign manipulators who have caused this humanitarian catastrophe in Syria that without them and those they have used, never wold have happened, let there be a new Syria built on victory over being another victim of US regime change. Defeat US global imperialism, defeat the spreading violence wherever they go. You will get a better result.

  6. Too funny went to turkey for (4 months ) for what tukfuri terrorist training bullshit ran away too hide what a bullshit made up story, this is all just for the camera .all scum death to you all bunch of brainwashed ziontist puppets

  7. This is the Turkish bullshit that's meant to justify their meddling in Syria and Iraq and attempting to influence or control portions of it .Dreaming about their "glorious" past .They don't call that autocrat Erdogan the "sultan" for nothing . Wishful thinking of sheep folk , aided by Qatar's finest propaganda tool

  8. Oh the irony, these Turkmens claim all these things which Assad is doing to them like banning* their culture and language, which Turks on the other side of the border are doing to the Kurdish minorities.

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