Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Kurds as a nation with no state in Middle East

The Kurdish problem in the Middle East is essentially that (1) the 30-40 millions Kurds now living in Turkey, Armenia, Syria, Iraq, Iran and other countries are the largest ethnic group with a distinct history, culture and language in the Middle East but without a state of their own (2) many Kurds living as ethnic minority in some Middle Eastern countries, especially Turkey, suffer or allegedly suffer from cultural discrimination and ethnic oppression, (3) a significant number of Kurds advocate or support the establishment, including by means of armed struggle, of an independent nation-state of their own, which is called Kurdistan, as an ultimate solution to their plights of being a nation without a state, (4) the idealised territory of Kurdistan state overlaps with the existing boundaries of Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran.

In A History Of The Middle East, Britain's diplomat-turned-historian Peter Mansfield (1928-1996) recalled that "an independent Kurdish state of Kurdistan" was recognsed in the Treaty of Sevres (of 1920) signed between the victorious Allied Powers like Britain (but not including the United States) and the defeated Ottoman Empire in the aftermath of WWI but it was "cancelled by the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne". (London, Penguin, 2003; p.171)

Mansfield also observed that "the Kurdish problem remained to destabilize the politics of the three countries in which Kurds form important minorities - Turkey, Iran and Iraq". (ibid) The absolute majority of Kurds, Turks, Iraqi Arabs and Iranians are Muslims.

Turkey' s de-stabilising effects on Middle East


Blogger Monsterball said...

The Kurds have no friends, except the mountains...an old Kurd saying.

Turkey has a long history of mistreating its Kurdish minority. The teaching and use of Kurdish language in public is forbidden.
Printing of Kurdish language books, magazines etc is an offence. Those suspected of aiding the PKK are subject to torture.

The 1920 Peace Treaty of Sevres between the Western Allies and the Ottoman Empire provided for an Autonomous Kurdish administrative region within Turkey's borders.

But the modern Turkish state refused to recognise this particular clause.

The only territory where Kurds have been able to live in dignity in recent times has been nothern Iraq, where they carved out a self-governing zone in the 1990's, protected from Saddam Hussein by a US enforced no-fly zone.

7:50 PM  
Blogger James Wong Wing-On said...

The tricky question now is why PKK attacked Turkish forces on the Turkey-Iraq border after Turkey had already warned of military incursion into northern Iraq? Is PKK baiting Turkey into a strategic trap whose larger objective is still unknown to other? Is PKK acting alone or with collaboration with foreign powers or/and forces?

4:54 AM  

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