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September 26, 2013

Essay on Kurds in Turkey

Kurds in Turkey
At the heart of the Middle East, the Kurds are a people of 25 to 30 million people divided up between Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Syria, but also in Armenia and Georgia. Victim of the partition of the Ottoman Empire and the creation of modern states in the Middle East after the First World War, the Kurds took refuge in a region of high mountains known as Kurdistan today. Today there are approximately four million Kurds in Iraq, 18% of the population. There are also 15 million Kurds in Turkey (24% of the population), 6 million in Iran (18%), 800,000 in Syria (8%) and approximately 115 900 spread in Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan. In addition, an estimated 700,000 Kurds fled to Europe.(Meho, 1997)
The vast majority of Kurds approximately 80% percent of them do not speak a unified language. This is largely a result of their political fragmentation that split their language into several dialects such as Kurmanci and Sorani, Zazai, Loria, Bakhtyar and Goran. The Kurmancî is spoken by about 90% of Kurds in Turkey and is also spoken in the Kurdish regions of Iran and Iraq, and Syria, or 60% of all Kurds. Sorani is spoken in the central regions of Kurdistan in Iran and Iraq, the Zazai is spoken in parts of Turkish Kurdistan, in the three parts of southern Kurdistan. The Kurds are more unified in terms of religion, as almost all are Sunni Muslims.
Although they shared many states do not control, the 30 million Kurds were relatively concentrated in their Kurdistan, which straddles four boundaries. They have all the features of a nation, without being able to have a state of their own possession. (Whitman, 2000)
                   To maintain their identity, the Kurds have opposed the centralist and repressive governments mostly through violence.  Entrenched in their mountain ranges and plateaus of difficult access, the Kurds fiercely resisted foreign domination for over 70 years.
In the nineteenth century, various attempts at assimilation by the Ottoman Empire led to the creation of several independent Kurdish principalities, all more or less crushed. Mustafa Kemal Ataturk continued the fight with more determination.
Following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire in 1918, the Treaty of Sevres (1920), imposed by Britain and the Allies had planned the creation of an independent Kurdistan. Soon after, the West decided to focus instead on the new Turkish state (1923) led by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the "Father of the Turks" (Turks). The Treaty of Sevres has never been met and it lapsed on the Treaty of Lausanne of July 24, 1923, which granted certain protections for religious minorities in Turkey.
Not only is that the Treaty of Lausanne of 1923 was never fulfilled, but the decree-law of March 3, 1924 banned the Kurdish language education in all schools, as well as all Kurdish associations and publications. Since that time, all successive Turkish governments have denied the existence of Kurds.(Fuller, 1998)
The official line has always claimed that there was no Kurdish problem, since "the Kurds do not exist." However, Turkey in 1932 decreed martial law in all territories inhabited by Kurds. At the same time, Ankara promulgated a law of deportation and dispersal of the Kurds (May 5, 1932), this legislation was the mass deportation of Kurds to Central Anatolia, another law, passed in 1980, which authorized the deportation of the same members the family of a political prisoner "to the fourth degree."(Sheehan, 2004)
Section 2 of the Act establishing forced, No. 2510, states that "according to the map that will be established by the Ministry of the Interior and approved by ministers, will be set up in Turkey three categories of areas of homes. " Zone 1 includes areas where it is desired to increase the density of populations with Turkish culture, that is to say the Turkish part of Kurdistan, in order to install Turkish immigrants.  Zone 2 includes areas where Turkey wants to establish populations that must be assimilated to Turkish culture (regions of eastern Thrace, Marmara and Aegean and Mediterranean coasts). Zone 3 includes the territories that are supposed to be evacuated and are prohibited for health reasons, physical, cultural, political, strategic and public order (Kurdish provinces such as Agri, Sason, Tunceli, Van, Kars, Bitlis , Bingol and parts of Diyarbakir and Mus)
The Kurdish region has lived under martial law until 1946, in addition to being closed to foreigners until 1965. In 1961, one of the first decrees of the Committee of National Unity, who ruled the country after the coup of 1961 was' Turkification names of Kurdish towns and villages. " Turkish Kurdistan has been renamed to "Eastern Anatolia" or "eastern provinces. Paragraph 89 of the Act on Political Parties (1961) prohibited any party to assert that existed within the borders of the Republic of minorities based on language differences.
Kurds in Turkey are considered as "mountain Turks". Not only did the Kurdish language was banned, but the word Kurdish, as well as Kurdish music and traditional dress (shirt and baggy trousers for men). Despite these repressive measures, the Kurdish resistance has not been extinguished.
In 1961, the Institute for Cultural Research of Turkey published several books on the Kurdish issue. According to these works, the Kurdish language is not a separate or independent: it is rather a "set of dialects of Turkish origin", which has the characteristic of being degenerated too long been isolation in the mountains of the east . According to the Turks at the time, the various Kurdish dialects are unintelligible to each other. According to Turkish classification, dialects (LEHC) Kurdish Kurmanji and Zazaki (kirmançca and zazaca) belong to the Eastern Anatolian dialects, that is to say, "Osmanli group, linked to a group of Turkish South (Güney Türkçesi). By demonstrating that Kurdish was not a language but a mere dialect poor and degenerate, it became impossible to teach, write or publish, that justified the ban.
Even though there was no formal "Kurdish problem", the situation has led to numerous revolts that shook the Turkish Kurdistan from 1925 to 1939. They were all crushed by Marshal Mustafa Kamal Ataturk. Rebellion and repression army has resumed in the sixties, both in Turkey and Iraq and Iran, and this, in the silence and indifference of the international community. Since that time, repression has continued unabated regularly (1971, 1973, 1980, 1986, 1991, 1992, 1997, and 1998) on the Kurds.
In 1989, the government introduced throughout the Kurdish region a "special regime". The south-eastern part of Turkey today remains under full control of the army. By decrees 423 and 424, the military was granted extraordinary powers. A decree of December 16, 1990 has clarified the powers of super-prefect Turkish. The results speak for themselves: detention without trial, deportation of civilians, systematic use of torture, suspension of press freedom, not to mention the cleanup of the Turkish Air Force since the end of the Gulf War ( 1991).
As with most Kurdish leaders, they languish in prison and deportations are perpetuated as well as the shelling of Kurdish villages. And today, at the beginning of the twenty-first century, the policy of destruction of Kurdistan is even more ferocious than ever, as evidenced by the destruction of entire villages, deportation of civilians and political assassinations that have become a commonplace. It is true that the Turkish government is a strategic ally of the United States who needs it for their anti-Iraq strategy, and indeed, even Turkey is home to a permanent U.S. military of 5000 (excluding British soldiers and French) as well as nuclear weapons. (Heper, 2007)
According to an official report prepared by the Minister of State government, the war between the Kurds and the Turkish Armed Forces have killed at least 27,000 dead since 1984, including 10,000 among the Turkish military. It would cost the Turkish state some 84 billion U.S. dollars and 3,000 Kurdish villages were destroyed. The Turkish government still resolves to fully eradicate the Kurdish guerrillas, without yielding to political or cultural aspirations of the Kurds. Obviously, this is a policy whose chances of success seem slim.

Fuller, Graham and Barkey, Henri (1998) “Turkey's Kurdish question” Rowman & Littlefield
Heper, Metin (2007) “The state and Kurds in Turkey: the question of assimilation” Palgrave Macmillan
Meho, Lokman(1997) “The Kurds and Kurdistan: a selective and annotated bibliography” ABC-CLIO
Sheehan, Sean (2004) “Turkey” Marshall Cavendish, 2004
Whitman, Lois (2000) “Destroying ethnic identity: the Kurds of Turkey” Human Rights Watch


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