17 April 2014, Thursday
Today's Zaman

Iranian Azeris set up national council in Turkey, aspire for independence

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14 May 2012, Monday /AYDIN ALBAYRAK
Representatives of Azerbaijani Turks living in Iran have announced the establishment of an “International South Azerbaijani Turks' National Council,” which ultimately aims to become independent from Iran.

“Our ultimate aim is the independence of Turks living in ‘Southern Azerbaijan.' But we seek independence by democratic, peaceful means, not through the use of weapons,” Cemal Mehmethanoğlu, the spokesperson of the council, declared at a press conference held at the Azerbaijani Cultural Association in Ankara on Monday.

But Azeri Turks at the press meeting also stressed -- presumably desiring not to be associated with any US or Israeli intentions towards Iran -- that their search for independence has nothing to do with a possible military intervention into Iran by the US or a military airstrike against Iran's nuclear installations by Israel. They assert that their goal is a century-old dream which goes back to the days before the foundation of modern Iran in 1925, and is therefore independent from any other initiative.

But Dr. Yasemen Karakoyunlu, both a member of the board of management and head of the council's Strategic Research Unit, maintains that at 35 million, people of Turkish ethnic origin make up the majority in Iran -- nearly half of the Iranian population -- and made a point of saying that should the US have any plans regarding Iran, it should discuss the issue not only with Turkey and Azerbaijan, but also with Azeri Turks in Iran.

People at the press conference made it clear that they are a little frustrated with Turkey's policies in the region. “Turkey should change its policy regarding Turks in Iran,” Karakoyunlu told Today's Zaman. “Turkey keeps a close watch of the Palestinian problem, and raises its voice when Palestinian people are targeted by Israel, but doesn't seem to care much about what's happening to Turks in South Azerbaijan,” she added. Noting that hundreds of people are in prison in there, she asked, “Why doesn't Turkey take a genuine interest in their problems?” Karakoyunlu believes Turkey's fainthearted attitude is also to do with the fact Azeri Turks in Iran belong to the Shiite sect of Islam. “But today, the Azeri people in Iran, although they are Shiite by faith, have a democratic and secular mindset,” she noted.

She also claimed that some Azeri Turks in Iran tend to wander away from Shia belief, seeing it as a major part of the assimilation process Azeri Turks are subjected to in Iran.

Mehmethanoğlu also severely criticized the Iranian authorities: “In the last six months or so, teachers who clandestinely teach Turkish to children at home or at cultural associations in Iranian Azerbaijan are being put in prison.” He added that Azeri Turks in Iran are not allowed to publish newspapers in Turkish, nor to establish television stations broadcasting in their own language. In fact, a Turkish television channel formerly broadcasting from the US is no longer being relayed through Turkey’s Turksat satellite following pressure from Iran.

Azeri Turks tried to organize a two-day forum, the “First International Forum of South Azerbaijani Turks,” in Ankara on May 12-13, which is said to have been cancelled by the Ankara governorship due to pressure from Iran. However, according to Mehmethanoğlu, the spokesperson of the council, they managed to find another location to hold the forum, which he told Today’s Zaman was given full support by most of the nationalist movements in Iranian Azerbaijan.

The forum aims to bring the troubles in the area of human rights facing Azeri Turks in Iran to the world public, to demand education in their mother tongue and to create public awareness about the rights of the Azeri population in Iran. It was also noted at the press conference that although Armenians are a small minority in Iran, they freely enjoy their cultural heritage, while Turkic culture remains subject to oppression.

More than 300 people from fifteen countries, most of whom are from Turkey and Azerbaijan, attended the forum on Saturday. Among the attendees are Prof. Firudin Celilov, former Azerbaijani minister of national education, Ferec Ulusoy, and Sabir Rüstemxanlı, Azerbaijani deputies, former Turkish deputies Cemil Ünal and Orhan Kayıhan, Iraqi Turkoman deputy Fevzi Ekrem, and the chairman and members of the board of the World Azerbaijani Congress.

I am an Iranian - Azari and have a simple message to all of those who are salivating to separate Azarbaijan from Iran: Never forget that Azarbaijan has been an inseparable part of Iran for thousands of years and will always remain that way.
Hope the day that Iranian Kurds that are exiled in Turkey be freed. in turkish dictatorship even speaking in Kurdish is banned. then you want to separate people that are living together from beginning of world? Azeris are Persian but turki is imposed to them less than 400 years! please read history!...
Josef Vaziri, before mullahs, Türks weren't supported or respected either and they wont be after mullah regime collapse. You may be fine with losing your language and be called Torke Khar and adapt a fake russian-given '' azeri '' ethnisity but others are not, so RESPECT!!!! They live in the country...
Damn this makes me so sad. I'm Persian, but first of all I'm an Iranian and I'm proud of it. I love all my countrymen, it dosen't matter if they are Azaris, Kurds, Arabs etc etc. We are all Iranians. All these conflict are the Islamic Republics fault. Let us live side by side and build Iran. Long li...
Josef Vaziri
Poor you persians . all of South Azerbaijanian now are ready to separatin . be ready . on that night all of Turks are happy with their all of brothers and sisters in world . Y$asin Boyuk Turan Millati
down with panturks i am azari i am iranian
A smarter idea would be mass resettlement in Azerbaijan. The money of the Persian people has been used to build the infrastructure in Northwest Iran and to declare independence is a treachery to Persians.
100% support!! Nothing is better than independence. We should start sending out petition for this noble cause. Please us give up your Iranian citizenship
South Azeri People will get their independence sooner or later.I think justice should be done, it is a real time now.
Iranian turks should have been independant more ago-it is smart action to be done now because iran is under pressure
erdebil- south azerbaijan
Azeris timing is perfect. Israel or US could be bombing Iran soon, and that will be a good time for azeri nationalists to work for independence. perhaps they could be having an arrangement like kurdistan in iraq.
Viva Great and United Azeraijan, Viva Balujistan, Viva İranian Kurdistan There hadn`t been any special history of fars. İran is the geographic name... Down with fars liars...
I am apars Iranian and being proud. Azerbaijani part of Iran will remain forever. Turkey and Azerbaijan are also part of Iranian territory. Greetings to Iranian Azerbaijanis, Down with Panturks .yashasin azerbaijan iran
I am an Azeris Iranian and being proud. Azerbaijani part of Iran will remain forever. Turkey and Azerbaijan are also part of Iranian territory. Greetings to Iranian Azerbaijanis, Down with Panturks
It is my answer to serkan! You never get stronger and stronger, actualy you are weaker now! that is why turkey goverment tried to negotiate with PKK recently! and stop calling other nations racist while you banned speaking and writting in kurdish and called kurdish people " turkish of highlands!" fo...
This is my response to turcan's comment. we all know that pahlavi dynasty was a persian family and they ruled on Iran by 1979. between 1941 and 1979 who were ruling on Iran? the same dynasty! can you explain to me that how did the pahlavi family convert from turkic origin(as you claimed) to persian ...
I am azari and from urumie, we will never separate us from iran! we love and strive for our homeland Iran. We are all Iranians!!!
You Turks have been trying this for years! With your Pan-Turk agenda. You should concentrate on your own own country as the Kurds are sooner or later going to separate from you. When Iran rises and becomes democratic you better watch out, we will support our Iranic Kurdish brothers to the fullest de...
I'm from Tebriz and proud of being Azerbaijani Turk. Viva United Azerbaijan. Viva Turks brotherhood! Independence for South Azerbaijan coming soon...
The country that is now falsely called Azerbaijan is historically Aran and Shervan lands of Persia.It is infact the nothern part of Iran separated during Russo-Persian wars.Real Azerbayjan territory has always been a part of Iran.The name Azerbaijan is a Persian name and Azeri people are genetically...
Son of Iran
Good thing! In the 80's and 90's Iran, Armenia, Greece and Syria supported PKK terrorists against Turkey but as we get stronger and stronger, the balance will shift and our neighbouring countries will feel our power. It's time for payback. It's time that racist and discriminating Persians give our S...
Also Turkey should be getting partition. Kurdistan to be free. maybe other areas in turkey that are different culture must be getting independent.
Mr. Babak thank you for your response, i am in favour of muslim countries becoming smaller because that will be good for wprld peace. Also small muslim countries will be more willing to have democracy and not spending all their money on weapons and nuclear power. they will be willing to be friendly ...
What about giving 20 million Kurds in turkey an independent country?
viva south Azerbaijan viva north Azerbaijan and viva Turkey . we will be independent soon and it is the right of 40 million people in south Azerbaijan from Tehran and hamadan and zanjan to turkey and azerbayjan border . we will save urmiya lake and we will speak in our mother tongue Turkish language...
umit araz
please reading some history, after down the Islamic regime in Iran (coming soon) Iran will be powerful as before, and will put down each mussy wolfs
Thank You Turkey. We support South Azerbaijan. Long live South and north Azerbaijan. long live Turkey.
In the past, Persians fooled us with Shiaism, but that era is gone with the flow of information and education in South Azerbaijan. We south Azerbaijanis are Turks and will not longer accept occupation of our land by the Persians, the godfather of Armenians. We South Azerbaijani Turks will no longer ...
Most prestigious Turkish names are Persian. Including the names of some of the people in this committee. Not to mention that 80% of artifacts sold in Istanbul are Persian and Persian poetry are written on them.
just a bunch of losers who want to get some money from Türkeş (MHPci) people. at their core they are just a racist dead ender bunch.
kurdish ethnic origin make up the majority in Turky -- nearly half of the Turk population. it must be half country name after kurd not Turk. why it is not that??????????? realy why????
Long live the Kurds in Turkey. Independence for 29 million Kurds in Turkey
This is funny. Both ayatollah khamenei the Iranian leader and Mir hossein mousavi, the leader of the opposition who is also a close relative of the ayatollah are Azeri. I am myself an Iranisn Azeri and I love my homeland Iran. These people don't represent us. I don't know what they are talking about...
No such thing as "Azerbaijan" in the Caucasus (North of Arax river) ever until Sep 1918 when Ottoman troops on their way to Baku named it such for the first time. Throughout history until 1918 the region was variously known as Aran, Shirvan, etc., and the people as Tatars or Turks. So no Azerbaijan ...
At first, Turkey should stop killing of Kurdish people in its country and compromise with them. They should allow them to have independent newspaper in kurdish language, its satelite and also let them to be independent and then interfere to Iranian people conflicts with their goverment. Let us think...
The region has had enough violence. If the Iranians perceive this as a permanent Turkish policy shift, they will simply withdraw their signature from the Saadabad Treaty, open a consulate in Irbil, and beef up Maliki. They can even buy time with a charm offensive with the US over nuclear weapons a...
Jack Kalpakian
Turkish propaganda! First of all we are Iranian azeri we want rights not territory. Atleast our provinces are named Azerbaijan but there's no province called Kurdistan in Turkey because they're fascist and nationalists.
They should be freed from the occupied territories.
The numbers are highly exaggerated. The CIA factbook puts the population of Azeris in Iran at 16% (this is the correct estimate as Iranian government does not have proper estimates and gives conflicting reports) and puts the population of Kurds (an Iranic people) in Turkey to 18%. Consequently the...
stupid idea
Iranian Turks support their cultural and national rights we need help of all contries especiall Turky and North Azerbaijan
no problem IRan must support Kurdish P.K.K ! Long live P.K.K long live Armenia !
*Hamoka* You are not a kurd, a kurd would never ever say that PKK was originated by Armenians because such a thing is groundless and absolutely false. This is what the Turkish propaganda says to discredit the kurds. Anyway we Armenians support morally the Kurds as we support all the persexcuted mino...
This is a Turkish, and not an Azeri, initiaive. You can tell from the names of the people on the council that they are Turkish and not Azeri. Most of the Azeri's in Iran are Shia and consider themselves Iranian. The last thing they want is to split off from Iran.
Dream on my wishful friends , dream on . turkey is playing with the fire , Iran can easily return the favour by orgonising the meeting with PKK ;) and armenia ;) so dont do to neighbour what you dont want . we persians do not start anything pre hand but as soon as someone attack us we will unit ;) l...
Kurdistan National Council should be set up in Iran in response
We in Turkey all live in this world of lies, so much so that our textbooks, news agencies, official documents, literature, and even surnames are likely telling us lies. Even our parents may have told us lies about our family history. Our whole identity may be a fabrication. Written by Ayse Gunaysu
Saaten Maagar
Sultan's end?
This is in response to a comment by Ramesh who said smaller Muslim countries would be good for Israel. So are you suggesting the over 30 million Turks in Iran should accept Persian occupation and Persian Racism because if we become independent it would be good for Israel?? You know the Persian regi...
Iran was ruled by Turks until 1941.. You can watch on net speech of Shah Pahlavi who speak Turkish! :) Iran Turks should be independent..!
You are the last person for speaking ararat, your name shows your intention very well, you know nothing about Turkey and people living in Turkey, Kurdish are main part of Turkey, their population is not 20 million, discrimination should be but against PKK supporters, i support it but this PKK has o...
Creation of independent South Azerbaijan is inevitable. Why? 1)Existing problems in relations between Azerbaijanies and Persian are systemic in nature, due to a different value systems of the two societies, and they are often contradictory geopolitical ambitions. 2)The presence of IRI million ethnic...
Leon Aron
I think all the Muslim countries should be broken up into smaller states. Iran could be broken into Persia, Azerbaijan, Kurdistan, Baluchistan, Khuzestan. Turkey can be split into 3 or 4 countries. Same with Syria and Saudi Arabia. Iraq is already 3 countries. Pakistan must become 4 countries. Then ...
They are preparing to act as soon as Israel and USA will strike Iranian nuclear buildings. When Iran is involved with Israel and USA, the Azeris and Turks (as allied Forces) will invade Ardabil, East and West Azerbaijan provinces. The only one who may stop them is Russia thru Armenia.
Aban don Al Hope
TO @AliA YOU must have forgotten the 1915 events,Your ancient Fathers sometime had thought like you before 1915.You have always been weak nation,hiding behind other nations like Russia and fighting against Turks,Today Because of it you can not forget your 1915 victims. What you want now ? Maybe...
So much for Turkey being a status quo state that does not support irredentism. I have an open question to Davutoglu: have you gone raving mad? The region does not have enough problems?
Jack Kalpakian
@AliA, this article is not about Armenia it is about the delusional Azerbaijani fantasies. Next time, read carefully and stick to the subject being discussed. And yes you are right Armenia is stronger and it will even get stronger because we yet have major goals to achieve. At the top of our agenda ...
Congratulations to Azeri Turks of Iran. Well overdue move. We need a strong united front against the aggression of Armenians. Armenia is not the ex Soviet weak state but a state which is much stronger than it appears because of the support of influencial Armenians and Armenian lobbies particularly i...
At least no Azeris in Armenia
Anybody seen the neo-cons future ME map?Google it
A start of great opportunity! It is time to get rid of the artificial borders imposed on the people of the region by Russian and Western imperialists and their local agents and collaborators. A series of open, honest and internationally supervised referenda and plebiscites should redraw the administ...
The real irony here is that Azerbaijanis are asking for support from Turkey to achieve such an impossible and unrealistic goal because of the alleged cultural discrimination against them by the Iranian government while the Turkish government itself has been conducting a cultural genocide on the 20 m...
Creation of independent South Azerbaijan is just time issue.
Finally a good movement from Turkey to help their blood brothers to survive from persian fascism, I hope this won't be a end but a start. This is the least thing that we expect from our brothers in Turkey and North Azerbaijan to help us in our way to the independence.
south azerbaijanian TURK
Ararat, you are speak as "armenians". armenians surrounded with azeris you can look maps. and you can see CIA factbook about azeris in iran. And iran supreme leader azeris, opposition leaders musevi and now foreign minister azeri... then armenians what are you talking about
Bravo for Turkey, for backing Iranian Azeris to set up national council in Turkey, for independence
We people of South Azerbaijan have suffered too much from the racist Persian governments of Iran who are hiding behind the name of Islam. Even they Persian government Iran uses religion to advance its Persian Racist policies. If you want to know more about us South Azerbaijani Turks' fight against I...
The real irony here is that Azerbaijanis are asking for support from Turkey to achieve such an impossible and unrealistic goal because of the alleged cultural discrimination towards them by the Iranian government while the Turkish government itself has been conducting a cultural genocide on the 20 m...
Over 30 million Azerbaijanis will get their independence soon or late. Iran can not remain as one nation any longer. Persian racism will have to accept it is finished. Long live Independent south Azerbaijan. I hope to see a united secular, democratic and free Azerbaijan soon.
@Semra, the whole Azerbaijan concept is an illegal notion. There is no such thing as "Azerbaijani" people. They are Turkish Tatars, and they have occupied others' homes. This fictitious number "35 million" so-called Azeris in Iran is a Turkish wishful thinking.
Iran: Do not support PKK or Assad or else, Turkey will mess with you. That is my interpretation of this article.
Osman F
Wow, wow, wow !!! What happened to zero problem with neighbors?
This is the most stupid thing I have heard of in the region in a while, instead of brigning people closer with their common heritage they share, this is just diving the region further. Also, the Turks should recognise that the Iranians can also play the nationlist card if they want too. First...
Ghazzi Al Hind
turkey trying to set azari people against iran but i think turkey if follow this policy we will see iranian guns point to turkey
Iranian Foreign Minister: %40 of the Iranians speak Turkish http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vc9WJ9U2uHo
Iranian Turk
It is not a secret that we support our Azerbaijani Turkish blood brothers over the Persians, everyone should know that Anatolian Turks support the Azerbaijani Turks no matter what.
Turkey and Iran have been close friends like brothers. Clearly this puppet group's mission is to destroy it.
Agri (not Ararat), what are you babbling about? Whatever the case, the Azeris are easily the largest minority in Iran and probably number over 20 million. Furthermore, that's a bad example you give about the US, LOL. You do realize that the US robbed New Mexico and California from Mexicans who ar...
Thank you turkey(Teşekkürler TÜRKİYE)
I support a Greater Azerbaycan especially if Iran insists on increasing its closeness to the PKK, armenia, and Russia.
mr. Mcdowell is correct. we should divide iran, pakistan, syria and all other moslem countries. also Turkey. smaller muslim countries will be more peaceful and more friendly to the west and to israel.
I think this move of Turkey is not smart. As you know the kurds and Zaza are Iranic Peoples living in Turkey. Iran could organize meetings for them in Tehran so that they discuss the liberation of Kurdistan. Those who live in a glass house....
North Iran
It appears that Turkey want to mess with Iran
Yes, let's divide Iran. As far as I know from history and current struggles, there is also a part of Iran belonging to Kurds.
stinks with CIA and mossad, this is the start of a big problem as if you don't have enough
a sample paper against Turkey and this news from iran(From Tabnak website, a antiturk and panpersian website): http://bit.ly/KhGWn9
There is no so-called South Azerbaijan. There are two small Northwestern Iranian provinces named Eastern and Western Azerbaijan within the sovereign territory of the Islamic Republic of Iran and they are named so because of their Azerbaijani ethnic makeup. There is no way 35 million Azerbaijanis liv...
I hope very soon you will report with this same fervor that the representatives of Iranian Kurds living in Iran have announced the establishment of an “International Anatolian Kurdish National Council,” which ultimately aims to become independent from Turkiye.
Uncle Billy
Iraqi and Iranian Kurds aspire for independence, as well!?
Baqi Barzani
Between South Azerbaijan and the so called "North Azerbaijan" there is an old people the Talish, what will they do with them, since they are in the middle? A Genocide?
Ararat Araratian
Turkey's NATO (EU US and Western allies) should cooperate more with Turkey. Russia, Iran, and China pose a huge threat to the West. Russia, Iran, and China also threaten the Turkic World and illegally occupy historic and Turkish majority lands while oppressing their people. Turkey US EU and NATO nee...
This is excellent news. If Turkey can actually help azebaijan get independence then it will reducing iran's power. Turkey can do a big favor to Israel and West by supporting independent azerbaijan.
Not only South Azerbaijan remains under illegal Persian occupation. But West Azerbaijan (Irevan and Goyche Khanates) remain under illegal Russian/Armenian occupation along with 20% of the Republic of Azerbaijan (Karabakh and the surrounding provinces) while the Ural-Altay-Siberia remains under ille...
The Turkmencay Treaty that partitioned Azerbaijan was illegal as it was not held in an international platform like the Laussane, Paris, or Mersaille Treaties were. The Turkemncay Treaty also created an illegal armenian state on Azeri Majority lands through the genocide of the Azeri Turkish majority....
Naturally, We Turks in Turkey must support our blood brothers in Iran. it is south Azerbaijan.
How similar to the Artsakh(Karabagh for all those who do not know)issue.
Can you imagine creation f.e. of kurdish national council in Iran looking for independence of West Kurdistan ? Do not play with fire in neighbor home.
dimitrios macedon
Turkey should help all depressed minorities to have their own independent states.
Smart move, I hope all your goals are realized. Azeris are nice people i just hope they get rid of that puppet Israel-slave dictator
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