Posted by: hevallo | June 4, 2007

Turkey, Kurds and The Treaty of Sevre. A history.


The Peace Treaty of Sevre 1920.

In this treaty signed by the Ottoman Government 10 August 1920, the Kurds were granted autonomy. Section 3 articles 62-64, please look!
SECTION III.

KURDISTAN

ARTICLE 62

A Commission sitting at Constantinople and composed of three members appointed by the British, French and Italian Governments respectively shall draft within six months from the coming into force of the present Treaty a scheme of local autonomy for the predominantly Kurdish areas lying east of the Euphrates, south of the southern boundary of Armenia as it may be hereafter determined, and north of the frontier of Turkey with Syria and Mesopotamia, as defined in Article 27, II (2) and (3).

If unanimity cannot be secured on any question, it will be referred by the members of the Commission to their respective Governments. The scheme shall contain full safeguards for the protection of the Assyro-Chaldeans and other racial or religious minorities within these areas, and with this object a Commission composed of British, French, Italian, Persian and Kurdish representatives shall visit the spot to examine and decide what rectifications, if any, should be made in the Turkish frontier where, under the provisions of the present Treaty, that frontier coincides with that of Persia.

ARTICLE 63.

The Turkish Government hereby agrees to accept and execute the decisions of both the Commissions mentioned in Article 62 within three months from their communication to the said Government.

ARTICLE 64.

If within one year from the coming into force of the present Treaty the Kurdish peoples within the areas defined in Article 62 shall address themselves to the Council of the League of Nations in such a manner as to show that a majority of the population of these areas desires independence from Turkey, and if the Council then considers that these peoples are capable of such independence and recommends that it should be granted to them, Turkey hereby agrees to execute such a recommendation, and to renounce all rights and title over these areas.

The detailed provisions for such renunciation will form the subject of a separate agreement between the Principal Allied Powers and Turkey.

If and when such renunciation takes place, no objection will be raised by the Principal Allied Powers to the voluntary adhesion to such an independent Kurdish State of the Kurds inhabiting that part of Kurdistan which has hitherto been included in the Mosul vilayet.
Ends.

This was then superceded by, after months of re-negotiations under the leadership of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk by the Treaty of Lausanne in 1923.
Mustafa Kemal Ataturk

Here the Kurds had no longer the opportunity to have their own independent country and so the seeds of the present conflict were sown.

Ismet Inonu

“We are frankly Nationalist…..and Nationalism is our only factor of cohesion. Before the Turkish majority other elements have no kind of influence. At any price, we must turkify the inhabitants of our land, and we will annihilate those who oppose Turks or ‘le turquisme'”
Ismet Inonu May 4 1925.

This statement is chilling as the Turkish state did then embark on an ‘annihilation’ of the Kurds policy. Banning, jailing, torturing and forced depopulations and pogroms of the Kurds in an attempt to forcibly assimilate them into Turkish culture. This philosophy became known as ‘Kemalism’ and was built up around the cult of Mustafa Kemal or Ataturk.

Even today thousands of Turkish military officers file past the masouleum of Ataturk every year to commemorate his death on the 10 Nov 1938. There is also a ten minute silence throughout Turkey. This picture was taken 10 Nov 2006.

But of course the Kurds rebelled (27 times) and fought against this right up to modern day as the Kurdistan Workers Party or PKK, under the leadership of the imprisoned Kurdish leader, Abdullah Ocalan, continue to fight for political rights in Turkey.

Although much has changed, much remains the same. The assimilation policy has been halted but still we await a political solution to the Kurdish Question in Turkey.

Now the situation of the Kurds, numbering up to one third of the population of Turkey, is summed up by Turkey’s leading human rights lawyer Eren Keskin.

“The Kurds are one of the “domestic enemies” that this system, controlled by the military, needs to create in order to sustain its domination, failure in providing any solution to this issue makes the military all the more powerful. Even the minor progress made lately in this field – achieved at enormous cost and partly the outcome of the EU accession process – does not change the fact that “the policy of `non-solution’ still dominates the government’s approach to the Kurdish issue.” Eren Keskin, Human rights lawyer, Turkey. April 2006

The PKK has offered the latest unilateral ceasefire to the Turkish state 1st Oct 2006 but the Turkish state reply with denial, violence, imprisonment, murder and ultra nationalism. The Kurdish Question continues to dominate Turkish politics to this day. If only The Treaty of Sevre could of been realised Turkey would today probably be quite a different place.

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