Iraqi Turks (also known as Iraqi Turkmen) is an ethnic group in Turkmeneli, Iraq.
The Turkmen of Iraq are not to be confused with the Turkmen of Central Asia who reside primarily in Turkmenistan, Afghanistan and Iran. Iraqi Turkmen form a distinct group within the Oghuz Turk classification, which includes Ottoman Turks, modern Turkish people, Azeris, and the Turkmen of Central Asia.
The Iraqi Turks speak a dialect of Turkish that is heavily influenced by Arabic and Ottoman Turkish. For their written language, they use the standard Turkish language and Latin-based Turkish alphabet.
The term Turkmen for Iraqi Turks seems to have been created during the course of the discussion on the Mosul issue in the third decade of the last century, in order to isolate the Iraqi Turks from Turkey. This was used as a factor against Turkey during negotiations, in order to join this oil rich Ottoman province to the newly founded Iraq by Britain.
Iraqi Turks are the third main ethnic community in Iraq, representing about 13% of the Iraqi people.
Iraqi Turks have suffered from various degrees of suppression and assimilation that ranged from political persecution and exile to terror, massacres and ethnic cleansing. Arab tribes were settled west of Kerkuk. During the early republican era, Communist and separatist groups committed the Kerkuk Massacre of July 14.th, 1959 which aimed at terrorizing and ethnically cleansing the Turkmen from the city.
The assimilation of the Turkmen already became a state policy in 1971 when the General Assembly of the Baath Party decided to complete the Arabization of Kerkuk by 1980. Iraqi Turks are continuously denied political rights and systematically faced assimilation.