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A Brief Human Rights Report About South Turkmenistan

There are a lot of horrifying stories related to the persecution, imprisonment, torture, and killing of ethnic Turkmen strugglers for

freedom and democracy such as Turkmen scientists, educators, cultural activists, human rights activists, political leaders, even Turkmen farmers and fishermen since the barbaric appearance of Iranian Islamic Regime in 1978-1979. And it is worthy to mention that Turkmens of Turkmen-Sahra were the only non-Persian nation who rejected the choice of the Islamic Republicin its related referendum and ask for democratic state in Iran, and have built an autonomous democratic structure that suppressed by Iranian Islamic regime after a year. Routinely, In a period of three decades, there are tens of Turkmen ethnic people who were executed, and there are hundreds who their lives demolished in ancient Iranian prisons. Ethnic Turkmens of Turkmen Sahra are living more than three decades of the physical and  psychological torture, persecution, suppresion and  and insult to their Turkmen identity, Turkmen culture, Turkmen language and even to their religious beliefs as Sunni Muslims.

Total population of South Turkmens in Turkmen-Sahra is more than 5 million. They live in the north of Iran, in the east coast of Caspian Sea, and on the southern border of the Republic of Turkmenistan. Territoriality, Turkmen -Sahra contains 10-15 cities and towns and nearly 1600 villages. The present land of Turkmen-Sahra (South Turkmenistan) includes province of Golestan, part of province of Mazenderan, and the north part of the province of Khorasan. These provinces are the product of Iranian regime ‘s chavunistic and  injustice division of Turkmen land and people.

Historically, Turkmens comes from Oguz Turks, and are considered the founder of the Seljuk Empire at ancient city of Merve, between 11,13 centuries. Seljuks, also have influenced the foundation of Ottoman Empire. In 19 century, after a long period of the unsuccessful deeds of Russian rulers to gain influencing path in Turkestan since Peter the Great, Russian empire, after the defeat in Crimean War by Allies Forces in 1853-1857, and mainly to gain monopoly of cotton of Turkestan, because of world-wide cotton suply crisis based on American Civil war, and on the other hand to improve its colonial reputation has launched a military invasion into Turkestan and towards Turkmen territory in1886. It started throughout gradual military attack and conquer of the port of  “Gyzyl -Suv” which called  Krasnovodsk in Russian (present city of Turkmenbashy) in 1869. It is located on the north east coast of Caspian Sea. Later, Krasnovodsk became a base of Russian empire’s administrative and military operations against city-states of Khiva and Bukhara, and the nomadic Turkmen tribes insurgencies. Consequently, North part of Turkmen land  (Present republic of Turkmenistan) during the late 19 century after the defeat in the battle of “Gokh-Depe” by the mercenary army of General Skobelev and  after the masacre of 15-20 thousands of ethnic Turkmen defenders, mostly unarmed men and women forcibly annexed to Russian Empire. But South part of Turkmenistan remained under the rule and influence of Turkmen-Turkic Qadjar Empire. However, after the disintegration of Qadjar Empire in in1925, South Turkmens of Turkmen-Sahra was invaded by Persian-Iranian military forces of Pahlavi dynasty, and the first Autonomous Republic of Turkmen-Sahra (South Turkmenistan) which was established on May 1924, viciously suppressed and Turkmen land completely annexed to Iran. The first autonomous republic of Turkmen-Sahra, was established through The Assembly of Turkmen Elder’s “Tore“  in the town of Omchaly, (near to city of Bender-Turkmen) of Turkmen-Sahra. It lasted only for 18 months. For the first time in our history, we were forbidden  to learn, read, write, and even speak in our mother tongue, and  Turkmen culture and identity violently denied.

After the fall of Pahlavi dynasty in winter 1978, South Turkmens established an Autonomous State.  Based on growing national-cultural struggles, South Turkmens begin to restore the land issue in Turkmen-Sahra, and confiscated land by Pahlavi generals was given back to ethnic Turkmen people. It was possible because of the presence of national unity and solidarity among Turkmens of South Turkmenistan, the approximated freedom and democracy, and incomplete power of the reactionary Shea-Islamic regime. Turkmens of  South Turkmenistan were  the first among non-Persian nations who said “NO” to the choice of the Islamic Republic, and voted against in their referendum. This Autonomous State was suppressed by  chauvinistic regime of Iran after a year and Turkmen national leaders: S. Tumach, H. Makhtum, T. Vahedi, C. Gorjani were murdered.

During the first military attack, to the city of Gonbad Kavus in March 1979, more than 100 Turkmen ethnic people, mostly unarmed women, childre and elders (hiden in their houses) were killed by the brutal forces of Iranian regime called Pasdaran. Their names are: Orazmuhammad Durdipoor,  Jelil Arazi, Ms. Orazgul Khaledzadeh, Gurbanmuhammad Shafigy,  Ata Khanjani,  Abdollah Gyzyl, Hakim Shahnazi,  Gafur Emadi,  Jelil Gughlani, Abdollah Cufizadeh,  Egan-Mohammadi,  Behruz Akhundi, (he murdered by the member of Pasdaran forces, Keihan Setare -Serab directly at one of the streets of city Gonbad -Kavus and in front of people), Afshin, Radfer,  Kaka Bezmyein,  Amandurdi Tumajipoor, Mohammad Sershar, Nuri Shafigy and Turkmen elders of city Bender -Turkmen:  Iranpoor, Nazdurdi Nushin, Usub Garaja.  After the suppression of Turkmen people in 1980 by the military attack between 1982-1983 many Turkmen ethnic strugglers illegally and without any legal court of justice were executed: Their names are: Halli Halizadeh, Gurgen Behelke,  Meretgeldi Bidar, Ibrahim Nadimi, Arazmuhahhamed  Basiri, Yagub Kurt and legendary Turkmen national leader Annageldy Gughlani.


Ethnic – cultural, socioeconomic, linguistic and religious genocide in Turkmen -Sahra:

QC.- Geoffrey Robertson in his report related to the murdering of more than 4000 political prisoners by Iranian regime in 1988 affirmed: “International law obliges all states to acknowledge and comply with their obligations under a human rights law which is fundamental and universal. It abominates systematic torture and summary executions – but that is what happened in the prisons (massacre of more than 4000 prisoners) of Iran in the middle of 1988. In the annals of post-war horrors the killings compare with the 1995 massacre at Srebrenica in terms of the vulnerability of the victims, and they exceed it when measured by the cold-blooded calculations made at the very pinnacle of state power. As long as the graves of the dead remain unmarked and relatives are forbidden from mourning, Iran will continue to contravene the rule of international law which its leaders (Khomeini, Khamenei, Rafsanjani, and Mousavi) so brutally defied in 1988.”

1. In the last 2-3 decades only in central city of Gonbad -Kavus over 5000 places of accommodation were built for Zabolies, who serve regime and are anti-Turkmens. They brought to the area for the purpose of changing the demographic landscape of the Turkmen land.

2. Turkmen children are not allowed to talk in their mother tongue in schools, colleges, or other educational places throughout oppressively monitored Iranian education policies. Sunni Muslim Turkmen children even in kindergartens are forced to receive Persian language and Persian -Shea religious education.

3. Birth certificates are not given with Turkmen names. Turkmens under the discriminatory selection policies of Iranian Islamic rulers can not obtain senior positions even in local affairs of their homeland.

4. Turkmen members of the six parliamentary term were murdered. According to TV. interview of Mr. Abbas Palizdar, Head of Judiciary System of Research and Investigation Commission in May 3rd.2008, in the audience of students in the university of Buoali -Sina in Tehran, It is declared that through planned aero-incident of the aeroplane Yak-40,  the Islamic rulers of Iran had employed the act of terror against Turkmen members of the sixth parliamentary term. In this incident three Turkmen members of Iranian parliament were murdered. They are: Mr. Etrek Tayyar  member of parliament from city Gonbad -Kavus; Mr. Azim Gol member of parliament from city Bender -Turkmen;  Mr. Mami Halakou, member of parliament from city Ay -dervish (present city of Kelaleh).  Mr. Abbas Palizdar was arrested and imprisoned after this interview by the Islamic forces of Iran.

5. According to amnesty international report of January 25.2008, on December 27-28. 2007, Mr. Hesamoddin Khadiver, an 18 years old fisherman, murdered by naval forces of Islamic of Iran in the Chapaqli village near the city of Bender -Turkmen, after his fishing boat brutally being crushed by naval forces military boat.  After his funeral,  over thousand people of the region of  Bender -Turkmen went to the naval post of the military and to the governor of Bender -Turkmen to protest the killing and ask for the investigation of the murder. But the Iranian regime responded with sending troops to the region, cutting phone lines, internet, applying emergency situation and curfew, attacking everyone in the streets. It also lead to the destruction of the houses of several ethnic Turkmen people by heavy military boldozers in Bender -Turkmen as the following

a. Destruction of Mr. Durdi Ekram ‘s house in the Amirkabir street.

b. Destruction of Mr. Farhad Daz’s house close to horse race track

c. Destruction of Mr. Jemshid Barkharad ‘s house, that caused the death of  his father with a heart attack upon hearing the horrifying news of destruction, torture, and persecution of his son.


One-third of South Turkmenistan people are living near or besides Caspean Sea, in  cities and towns of Bander-Turkmen, Khoja-Nepes, Kumish-Depe, Omchali and in the villages around. Because of their poor agricultural land and watering system, fishing is vital for them to live on. We should mention that Mr. H. Khadiver is not the only victim of the violent treatment of Iranian regime. Only in last five (5) years more than fifty (50) ethnic Turkmen fishermen were killed or wounded by the Islamic maritime forces in the territory of Caspian Sea.  Their names are: 

1. Halimguly Watanpoor Kem, from Kumish -Depe. He was murdered in direct shot by Ali -asgar Bazrefshan, from city Azadshaher which is located in 30 km. distance with Gonbad -Kavus.

2. Neaman Niyazi, 28 years old Turkmen fisherman from Khoja -Nepes. He was killed by coast guard forces in the fall of year 2006.

3. Jelil khor, from Gamishli village. He was murdered  by the direct shot of coast guard forces, and his father was forced to pay for the bullets shot to his son’s body.

4. Brother of Jelil Khor, was wounded in direct shot, but with assistance of other Turkmen fishermen was hidden and saved from death.

5. Basit Persem from Chapaqli. He was wounded by the direct shot inside the water in Caspian Sea. Coast guard forces ran over his wounded body with their huge coast guard boat; crashed his kayac and murdered him.

6.  Young fisherman, 17 years old, son of Ashur Akhun. By the witness of the other Turkmen fishermen,from the region of Bender Turkmen, maritime forces ran through his body by their boat, murdered him and after they were shot to his body more than 20 bullets.

7.  Mini Truck of fishermen on the road of Kumish-Depe, Chapaqli, were shot by coast guard forces, and were killed 3 fishermen, were wounded 15 fishermen.

6. Four fishermen with the son of Mashad-Haji (lecher of the town Kumish-Depe), were arrested in the region of Bender -Turkmen, inside their small fishing boat (canoe) in Caspian Sea. They were fastened in hands and foot by Iranian coast guard forces, and  were thrown into the Caspean Sea. Their bodies were seized by other fishermen, and were given to the officials of the region. they sent bodies to city Gorgan, to “5-Azer hospital“. There was no investigation.

7. On February 2008, Turkmen Fishermen called Sakhid khor was woundedand was sent to the hospital of city Gonbad- Kavus. Later, he was found dead  in the hospital.

8. Hajiaman Khadiver, the older brother of H. Khadiver who was  murdered in January 2008  by Iranian coast guard forces (from Chapaqli village), is also arrested and kept in the prison of Bender-Turkmen for several months. He was not allow to mourn for his brother’s death.


9. After 1 year  from the incident of Bender Turkmen, still hundreds (200-300) of Turkmen people are in the prisons of Bender -Turkmen, Gurgan’s Buye prison, and prisons of other cities like Sari and Mashad under toture and beyond measure inhuman conditions. Four protesting fishermen by the names of Kaka Daz, and Jelil Beshkhorde (from Chapaqli village) and Jamshid Arazpoor, Taher Niyazi-Charva (from Kumish -Depe) were in prison with no right of visitation and under threat of being executed. From the protesters of city Bender -Turkmen over 300 of them are exiled to Zahedan in Baluchistan province. It should be noted that families of captured people still do not have no news from their loved ones. Only after the Amnesty international’s pleas in January 25. 2008, Iranian authorities released some of the captured people in exchange for heavy collateral, equivalent of US $ 3,350. Later more than 80 of them again were summoned to courts.


10. Attack by the regiment of Iranian army forces and police under commander Colonel Mamishli in the region of city Bender Turkmen in early April 2008. For instance, only in Chapaqli village, they illegally arrested fifteen (15) Turkmen fishermen and also seized eighty (80) fishing Vessels (motorboats), two (2) Nissan pick-ups, one (1) Tractor, and 200 fishing net from poor Turkmen

fishermen which basically consisted of all their livelihood. At the same time anti-Turkmen Zabolies, were allowed to fishing all around Caspean Sea.


11. According to the official news agency -IRNA, reported that in the village of Chapar -Ghoyma,

during the military maneuvers conducted by Iranian regime on October 7.2008, 6 Ethnic Turkmen individuals were killed or wounded. Their names are: Nurly Dideban, Usef Zamani, Gurbanmuhammad Mansuri.


12. Turkmen Land is used for socioeconomic genocide against ethnic Turkmens: Land issue in Turkmen Sahra has been one of the biggest problem of the Turkmen people more than 80 years since the Pahlavi period. A territory of 85,000 hectares of ancestral Turkmen land, has been used as farms by the regional Turkmen people for years, from the cities of : Bender -Turkmen, Kumish -Depe, and villages such as: Uli -Ghalajik and Kichi -Ghalajik, Kelle -pest, Altin -Toghmag, and Ghalamc. The area extending from Qara -gyr to the eastern part of the border road of Kumish -Depe (or north of Ak Gala, and Kumish -Depe), were forcibly possessed and nationalized by the anti Turkmen Islamic Organizations like Institution of Natural Resources, Bonyad Mostezafan, and Alavi Foundation.

a. The resistance of Turkmen people to protect their land in Okhi-Depe village on October 2005. They were attacked by a force of 300 men comprising provincial Rapid Reaction Forces and Special Forces of the Islamic regime of Iran. Thirty (30) people from the village were sent to prison. , among ther Turkmen elder: Abdulhakim ghok,  and ethnic Turkmen women: Amangul Ghok, Ogultagan Agebaty. Villagers of Ambar -olum, and Habib -Ishan of the region of city Ak -Gala, despite of their protests is also suppressed.

b. 170 hectors of land of Mr. Garabash and his family forcibly were possessed. The copy of this grave human rights violation act is recorded in the land registration office of Mr. Jemalzadeh in city Gonbad -Kavus by the officials of Iranian military forces called Pasdaran.


13. Abuse of local and central state power by Iranian chavunistic regime to force ethnic Turkmens to change their Sunni Muslim religious beliefs into Persian Shia concept:


a. Destruction of “Javadie” Turkmen Sunni Mosque in the city of Bojnord (north of Khorasan) in 2008, and sealing off the Sunni mosque of Turkmen and Baluch people in Fazel -Abad by the order of the governor of Aliabade -Ketul (a town with 45 km. distance of city Gurgan) on May 26.2008.

b. Ethnic Turkmen people are publicly threatened with massacre by the leader of Islamic fundamentalists of the Golestan province Mohsen Taheri, for being Sunni Muslims. Following the death of Habibollah Taheri, the representative of Golestan province in the Khebregan Assembly (Religion Assembly of Experts), his son Mohsen Taheri as the Head of Gorgan religion school issued a repulsive and shocking declaration, and calls for massacre (Jihad) against the Turkmen people in Turkmen Sahra. The act of massacre of Turkmen ethnic people also supported by Vehid Khorasani who is considered one of the Iranian religion leader in city Gom, in October 2008.


14. Suspicious death of Ms. Louise Feiruz, an American lady, wife of a late Qajar prince on May 2008: She lived in Turkmen -Sahra in the region of city Kelaleh (Ay-Dervis), on her farm in Kara -Teppe Sheikh village. She devoted 50 years of her 76 years life time to breeding Turkmen horses, and is known as the Lady of Turkmen Horses. During last years she was threatened several times by the Islamic local officials to leave her farm to them. When she was under treatment in March 2008 in Belgium, local Islamic court gave a judgment against her to confiscate her farm. Ms. Louise Feiruz, after returning Iran, resisted and raised objection to this decision. So, threats increased against her and as the matter of fact, the last one was four days before her suspicious death.


15. Illegal arrest and imprisonment of young Turkmen scientist Omid Kokabee. Young ethnic Turkmen scientist, Omid Kokabee, an experimental laser physicist at the University of Texas at Austin, illegally was arrested when he traveled from the United States of America to Iran to visit his family in City Gonbad -Kavus of Turkmen -Sahra in February 2011. In his 30, he started his second PHD at the University of Texas at Austin in 2010 (He had a Master’s degree in Photonics at Polytechnic University of Catalonia, and he got his first PHD at the institute of ICFO in Barcelona, Spain). Relatively, after a year of imprisonment, he sentenced for 10 years of prison despite of the Open Letter signed by several physics associations, including the International Optics Society SPIE, the Optical Society of America, the American Physical Society, and European Optical Society that have lodged protests against his imprisonment to Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei. They addressed the possibility that Kokabee’s charges were intended to intimidate him into participating in the Iranian nuclear program.


16. Rohani viciously has increased the persecution, torture and illegal arrest of ethnic Turkmens:

Four ethnic Turkmen cultural activists: Danial Babayani son of the Bahnam, Habibollah Begzade Gojik son of Beyik -Tagan, Nametollah Kami son of Azim, illegally arrested by Iranian Intelligence Service Agency of Golestan province on August 2013. After nearly four (4) months of physical and psychological torture, finally on February 2014, they were sentenced to  69 months of prison, a collateral fine equal to $ 3 000 (US dollars), and corporal punishment. They were convicted by revolutionary court section one of city Gonbad -Kavus, conducted by the judge named Gorbani. They were accused of using insulting words to the address of the leader of Iranian revolution, insulting  the present revolutionary leader of Iran, Insulting of Shea Imams, using Dish (seat-lite TV) at their houses. They were told by the Intelligence Service agents that they can be freed from prison only if they change their Sunni religious beliefs to Shea religious concept. Another four cultural and human rights activists of ethnic Turkmens, among them a Turkmen woman also illegally arrested and imprisoned on winter of 2013. They are missing and until now, we did not receive any further information about them.


Hereby,We want to bring your attention to Iranian regime’s severely abusive and unfair treatment of ethnic Turkmen people in Turkmen -Sahra.  Since the unjust, suppressing, chavunistic and reactionary deeds of the Iranian regime: Iran only for Shea followers of Khamenei; we ask you to voice condemnation against ethnic -cultural, socioeconomic, linguistic, and religious genocide implemented by this regime towards ethnic Turkmen people and all other non-Persian nations in Iran. And we ask for your support for the struggle of Turkmen people for freedom, democracy and basic human rights



Spokesman: Adulgafur Setash

South Turkmenistan ( Turkmenb-Sahra, Iran) National Unity Front.

South Turkmenistan Human Rights Centre (Turkmen-Sahra, Iran) in Canada.

Contact phones:

1- 647-854 -9824 / 1- 647-827-5785

E-mails: [email protected] / [email protected]

Website: www. Fnfsd.org


Gunaz TV: www.gunaz.tv ,Turkmen program

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