The Syrian Turkmen Assembly
Before 2011, the Turkmen of Syria were not able to organize under a common political leadership due to suppression by the Assad regime.
With the outbreak of the Civil War in 2011, the Syrian Turkmen organized from Turkey due to its proximity, linguistic and cultural bonds, the presence of a Turkmen diaspora, and Turkey’s support for the opposition movement.
The first Turkmen political organizations were the Syrian Democratic Turkmen Movement and the Syrian Turkmen Mass, both founded in 2011.
The Syrian Turkmen Platform was also established in 2012 under the initiative of Syrian Turkmen living in Turkey.
On December 15th, 2012, the Syrian Turkmen Platform gathered more than 1200 of their fellow Turkmen to Istanbul in order to deliberate on issues of concerns and the future of the Turkmen in Syria as a group. The meeting resolved to establish the Syrian Turkmen Assembly from delegates to be elected from within Syria, as a legitimate representative body to engage in all negotiations with other parties.
As per this resolution, the Syrian Turkmen Assembly was founded during the Ankara Conference of March 30th, 2013, with the participation of then-Prime Minister of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the votes of 400 Turkmen delegates.
With the participation of Turkish officials, Syrian opposition figures, and foreign representatives, this conference represents a critical turning point in the history of the Turkmen of Syria.
Dr. Muhammad WajihJuma was elected as chairperson of the body on February 10th, 2018, during its fourth general assembly.
The Syrian Turkmen assembly comprises of 42 representatives elected by 420 delegates from three Turkmen parties and independent delegates from the Aleppo-Idlib, Bayirbucak (Latakia-Tartus), Hama-Homs, Damascus-Golan and Raqqa regions. The Chairperson is elected from among the Assembly’s representatives.
The Syrian Turkmen Assembly is made up of 6 main bodies:
- The General Assembly
- The Turkmen Committee
- The Executive Committee
- The Consultation Committee
- The Disciplinary Committee
- The Elective Committee
The Syrian Turkmen Assembly continues to be active in both Syria and Turkey. The Assembly currently has offices in Istanbul; Yayladağı, Hatay; Gaziantep; Osmaniye; and the Euphrates Shield region.
The Syrian Turkmen Assembly is represented in the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces.
The officially declared objectives of the Syrian Turkmen Assembly are:
- To guarantee the safe return of Syrian Turkmen to their lands from which they were forcibly removed,
- To guarantee the linguistic, political, cultural, economic, and social rights of Syrian Turkmen in post-war Syria, within the framework of constitutionalism and international law,
- To ensure the formation of a post-war administration through democratic, fair, and transparent elections,
- To establish a constitutional system after the conclusion of the Syrian conflict in which all groups can live together in peace and harmony.