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Last updated: January 2021

COI summary

Turkmen are the third largest ethnic group in Iraq after Arabs and Kurds. They comprise of both Sunni and Shia, and a small group of Christian Turkmen (see also Christians).

There are reports from 2017 of KRG authorities discriminating against Turkmen in the disputed territories. There are reports of harassment, arbitrary arrests, forced evictions of displaced Turkmen at the hands of KRG authorities up until the Iraqi takeover of the disputed territories in October 2017.

Turkmen in Kirkuk seem to be the most targeted group among all ethnic and religious groups living in the city.

There were reports of abductions and killings of Shia Turkmen by ISIL. For example, when the organisation seized the area around the town of Amerli in Salah al-Din in 2014, placing its 13 000 inhabitants under siege. Residents were suffering from severe shortages of food, medicine and drinking water. Some residents died from lack of access to medical services.

Based on suspicion of being affiliated with ISIL, Sunni Turkmen, along with Sunni Arabs, are targeted by the PMU and subjected to discrimination, forms of collective punishment, and killings (see Persons perceived to be associated with ISIL). Turkmen women continued facing discriminatory stereotypes.

A large group of Turkmen are IDPs. There have been reports that Sunni Turkmen IDPs were prevented by the Peshmerga and PMU from returning to their homes in areas liberated from ISIL.

Risk analysis

The acts to which individuals under this profile could be exposed are of such severe nature that they would amount to persecution (e.g. killing, collective abuses). In other cases, individuals could be exposed to (solely) discriminatory measures, and the individual assessment of whether or not discrimination could amount to persecution should take into account the severity and/or repetitiveness of the acts or whether they occur as an accumulation of various measures.

Not all individuals under this profile would face the level of risk required to establish a well-founded fear of persecution. The individual assessment of whether or not there is a reasonable degree of likelihood for the applicant to face persecution should take into account risk-impacting circumstances, such as: area of origin (e.g. Shia Turkmen in areas where ISIL continues to operate), perceived affiliation with ISIL (especially for Sunni Turkmen), religion, gender, etc.

Nexus to a reason for persecution

Available information indicates that persecution of this profile is for reasons of race (ethnicity) and/or religion and in some cases, especially for Sunni Turkmen, (imputed) political opinion.