America's #1 Balance Bike Destination

America's #1 Balance Bike Destination
America's #1 Balance Bike Destination

25 December 2005

Northern Iraq = Southern Kurdistan?

Look at the map of "Greece" and Kurdistan, created by an anonymous Greek jokester. This map is an insult to Turks, and I suppose to Armenians too in an indirect sort of way.

It has been 85 years since the Treaty of Lausanne, and 82 since the Treaty of Sevres. Do maps of the former Ottoman Empire still exist? Of course they do. Are there any hopes whatsoever of re-conquering any of the lands which the Empire once included? None whatsoever, even though such a short period of time has passed.

It has been 600 or so years since the collective population of Kurds has had any claim to any land, to any legitimate autonomy within recognized geographic borders. Do maps of the former Kurdistan still exist? Of course they do. Are there any hopes of re-claiming all of the land which Kurdistan once included? There certainly is.

Forgive me for asking and answering my own questions, but it seems to me that for the umpteenth time, the Kurdish cause has been given an injection of high octane fuel, this time thanks to the Bush Administration. Not only is "Northern Iraq" considered a dirty word to the Kurds, "Kurdistan", as it relates to the same real estate, is also a no-no. Whatever is taking shape in northern Iraq is being referred to as SOUTHERN KURDISTAN, and if this isn't considered to be provocative to Turkey, I don't know what is. I say: "Accept what you are given and don't threaten the north unless you can take it yourself by force, which you obviously can't". I try to be sympathetic and open-minded towards the Kurdish issues, but finding tripe such as "Southern Kurdistan" is a real buzz-kill.

At the end of the First World War, Ottoman lands which were conquered by force, fair and square (as I've said before, force is the currency of land grabbing) were diminished by 100s of thousands of square miles. The Treaty of Sevres, if enforced, would have given Turkey about 1/2 of the land which it's borders now define. The Treaty of Lausanne of course superceded this vulturous gang-bang, for lack of a better term, and we see the results by looking at any modern map of the middle east.

It goes without saying that Kurds received the short end of the stick. But it takes more than signed documents to stake a claim. If the collective population of Kurds possessed the military might to take what they could take, then it would have been so, but it wasn't, was it? There is no denying that the modern Republic of Turkey was born from more than just signed documents, it was fought for, tooth and nail, during the course of wars too numerous to mention in between 1910 and 1930.

I don't know what the next few decades will bring, if the conflict in Iraq will give rise to a wonderful democratic independent state called Kurdistan. If it is possible, then I say, let it be so, but...Does such an emergence pose a threat to Turkey? I think it does. The Turkish military certainly believes so, and monitors this situation with hyper vigilance and complete intolerance. What might become of the Kurdish-Turks living in Turkey if armed conflict is triggered? if Turkish forces intervene? As for Kurds who choose to stay in Turkey, while they have their own state next door, are they going to be wearing out their welcome? How appropriate would it be for a Kurdish Turk [referring only to those who would sooner burn a Turkish flag than salute it] to live in Turkey? I think it's going to get very ugly, very violent and very unattractive for any such Kurds, or other such ethnicities for that matter, to take residence in Turkey. "Love it or leave it" will ring loud and ring true, of this there is no doubt.

My detractors can paint me any way they like. This is a moderate view, and you are free to disagree, in fact you're encouraged to try and prove me wrong. Most Turks who I know "wouldn't waste their breath" [in their words] discussing any possible autonomous Kurdistan, in Iraq or inTurkey, or otherwise.

Since I believe that Kurds will never re-claim any Turkish land for their own state, I am hopeful that those Kurds who live in Turkey will dis-engage with the Turkish military, dis-arm completely and live in peace with all of the other ethnicities who call Turkey home. Love it or leave it. (yes for the third time).



hiwa said...

please read my comment on KBU first.
(and less you accuse me of something, let me tell you I was NOT born in Turkey but was educated in a Turkish school, oh probably you would like this, in a Ottman Empire LOVING shcool)

I think they[your Turkish sources] are misleading you and if I accuse you next time it is not because of YOUR ideas but becuase of the injected ideas into your mind.

let me clarify two things and leave you to love it! :)

"At the end of the First World War, Ottoman lands which were conquered by force, fair and square (as I've said before, force is the currency of land grabbing" I suppose that puts your "American-Turk" identity at big question! and thats why you you try to believe in Kurds[ethnic group] but there is no way you would believe in Kurdistan[geography] and ALLAH KORUSUN if it has anything to do with Turkey!

second thing:
The Turks themselves made the choice of creating a country for Turks ONLY. So I suppose in the other countries [iraq, iran and Syria] there is a choice of geography[willingly or otherwise]-ethnicity identity for Kurds but in Turkey there is NOT a choice at all, because just as your sources tell you, they DENY both ethnicity and their lands (well in your case, we might have it back if we have enough currency!)

Murat Altinbasak said...

I don't see what my identity has to do with anything. Why believe in a geographic Kurdistan which is impossible?

I am against the idea of the Turkish state denying Kurds (or others) their ethnicity. But back in the time when there was civil war, anarchy and chaos, an EXTREME idea was required to bring things under control. That idea was, as you say, to paint ALL inhabitants with the same broad brush- "forget everything you ever know about yourself- you are A TURK". Desperate measures for desperate times, designed to ensure the survival of Turkiye. Does this make any sense to you?

Please be more succinct. You seem angry and rushed. Slow down.

Mizgîn said...

"I don't know what the next few decades will bring, if the conflict in Iraq will give rise to a wonderful democratic independent state called Kurdistan. If it is possible, then I say, let it be so, but...Does such an emergence pose a threat to Turkey? I think it does."


"Whatever is taking shape in northern Iraq is being referred to as SOUTHERN KURDISTAN, and if this isn't considered to be provocative to Turkey, I don't know what is. I say: "Accept what you are given and don't threaten the north unless you can take it yourself by force, which you obviously can't". I try to be sympathetic and open-minded towards the Kurdish issues, but finding tripe such as "Southern Kurdistan" is a real buzz-kill."

Why is the recognition of a region that has historically been referred to as Kurdistan considered to be a threat to Turkey? I find such a reaction interesting because it says more about Turkish insecurities about Turkishness and the methods by which the state has enforced itself upon its Kurdish population, than it does about Kurdistan or Kurds. The same insecurities have been made part of the Turkish Penal Code, even in the wake of harmonization packages, with Article 301 being the most recent manifestation of these insecurities.

Would you mind pointing out with sources the threats that have been made by South Kurdistan against the Ankara regime? I would like to read them.

"I think it's going to get very ugly, very violent and very unattractive for any such Kurds, or other such ethnicities for that matter, to take residence in Turkey. "Love it or leave it" will ring loud and ring true, of this there is no doubt."

Are you implying genocide on the part of the Turkish state? I mean, there are some 17 million Kurds in Turkey, what are you going to do with all of them? There is no reason for them to leave the region in which they have lived for thousands of years. Actually, this is a greater problem for Turkey today than it ever has been, thanks to the politicization and radicalization of the population since the 1980 coup.

If one wanted to learn from history, it would be worthwhile to notice that the radicalization of the Kurdish population has been directly proportional to the level of brutality directed against it by the Turkish state.

I won't go into the fact that the TSK has enjoyed the enthusiastic support of the US military/industrial complex, which has fed it the advanced weapons systems it has needed to attempt to subjugate the unarmed civilian Kurdish population.

Murat Altinbasak said...

Why? Because it will mean yet another enemy bordering the state, added to the list of others- Syria, Greece, Armenia... If you wonder why I say that it would be considered an enemy, then I ask you if you would like to see the destruction of Turkey in order for the creation of "Northern Kurdistan". This isn't rocket science.

...historically referred to as Kurdistan by whom? Kurds? Where's the international outcry which condemns the "occupation" of "historic Kurdistan"? By historic, you are referring to a loooong time ago. Please give me some example of autonomy back in the 12th, 13th, 14th centuries, where all Kurds were united under one leader.

...source of threats by Southern Kurdistan against Ankara? PKK is a good enough example.

Genocide? I don't think that will ever happen. ...what to do with all of them? give them a choice: either salute the Turkish flag as a patriotic Kurdish Turk, or get the hell out. Who keeps a guest in their home who wishes to take your home from you and perhaps your life? George Bush was pretty succint on the matter: "You're either with us, or against us". Have you ever heard of the Patriot Act? Guantanamo?

Radicalization versus brutality is a two way street, just as patriotism versus complete & total freedom is a two way street.

Your last remark is vexing indeed if it's true, but I think you meant to use the word "empower" not "subjugate".

hiwa said...

OK, I am going to slow down and get rid of my anger.

1.Was there something called Swizterland,germany,turkey,Iran,Iraq or Syria,even the US? give me a 12th, 13th, 14th century example please!
I think you ask me to abandon my democratic OPTION of solving the Kurdish problem and go back to the 1920s OPTION which as you correctly say "if you dont FORCE your existence, then NO one will compromise your existence"

2. "On the political front, an ethnic group is distinguished from a nation-state by the former's lack of sovereignty" from
is what you are trying to do, which is exactly what the new Turkish Government is trying to dowith its Kurdish problem , so I am sorry but you are no different from them.

3.interesting I had written a post on KBU about why Turkey has so many enemies, please ask yourself and probably do a little research, whats wrong? Do you guys share the Kurds' fate? or is it because of something else? has it got anything to do with genocide,land occupation,land turkification?Or you still insist on your same idea of "CURRENCY" premise and those who have lost lands should not become Turkey's enemy.

4. the choice to have aTurkish flag and to become a Turkish Kurd...
what you are doing here is trying to compromise on conditions which are "Continue Occupation,assimilate ethnicity" which takes me back to ask you once again to differenciate between "Geography-ethnic" group identity for individuals like yourself AND "Ethnic Group-ehtnic group" which is used only for sub-ethnic groups as we have amongs Kurds like Hawrami-Kurd or Lur-Kurds.

6.I ask you this question and please be honest. If you think you have a moderate mind etc. What is wrong with a peaceful Kurdistan living alongside Turkey AND protecting Turkey from east and south enemies??

Murat Altinbasak said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Murat Altinbasak said...

There is nothing "wrong" with it HIWA, presuming that it is in fact peaceful, and that the population has a sincere interest in "protecting Turkey" instead of destroying it. If "Southern Kurdistan" comes to exist, will Kurdish-Turks all immigrate there? Will it be enough? or will it only increase the Kurdish appetite for reclaiming "historic lands"? As with the Treaty of Lausanne, sometimes you must accept what you are given, accept what you are capable of negotiating, and forget about all of the lands that are lost to enemies. Is "Southern Kurdistan" going to be the Kurds' "Sevres" or their "Lausanne"? I think you get my drift.

Mizgîn said...

No, I meant "subjugate," Murat.

How do you know that Kurdistan will be an enemy state? I talk with Kurds from all parts of Kurdistan under occupation, and I have never heard anything from any of them, nor from myself, that indicates Kurdistan will be a threat to anyone. All the threats seem to come from non-Kurdistani sources, i.e., Turkey, Iran, Syria, Iraq.

You need to check your Ottoman history about the Kurdish principalities of previous centuries. Why do Kurds all have to have been united under one leader? This makes no sense. There is no outcry at all about any occupied Kurdistan except by Kurds who have to bear the brunt of occupation. It has helped that everytime there is a state of emergency declared in "The Southeast," the area is closed to all media. This policy started with the Armenian genocide, did you know that?

Do all Americans salute the flag, or aren't there some who burn it? What do you do with them who burn it? Are they deported? If so, where do you send them? I ask because I think it's a really touchy legal point to get a another state to accept deportations of those who are citizens of another state.

I've heard of the Patriot Act and how it has so far been successfully challenged by supporters of PKK and LTTE in a federal court in Los Angeles. Just one of a number of cases questioning the constitutionality of the Act. Guantanamo. . . is that where you send those American flag burners?

What complete and total freedom do you mean? During the Dersim rebellion, even those Kurdish tribes who remained loyal to Ankara were slaughtered by the Turkish army. During the period between the end of the Dersim rebellion and the 1980 coup, when there was no Kurdish resistance, Kurdish language and culture were banned. It was only after PKK began to teach resistance that Turkey lifted the language ban. Obviously violence does work, whereas remaining loyal to Ankara results in repression.

If Kurds had been allowed to be themselves, there would have been no problems, but the founding ideology of Ataturk would not allow for that. There has been a total fusion of the idea of ethnicity with citizenship in Turkey, a result of the ideology. Picking up on the ethnicity point that Hiwa mentions, this is where there is a problem. There is a difference between ethnicity and citizenship. I can be ANY ethnicity and still hold American citizenship because citizenship is not a result of ethnicity. It is either a fact of birth or it is a choice. Even as a choice, it does not mean that I must abandon my ethnicity to become a citizen.

"As with the Treaty of Lausanne, sometimes you must accept what you are given, accept what you are capable of negotiating, and forget about all of the lands that are lost to enemies."

Interesting that you admit Turkey is the enemy of Kurdistan and that Kurds living in Turkey are living within an enemy country.

I think there is a lot of psychological projection at work here.

yochanan said...

If there is a Kurdish State in what used to be northern iraq would you support Turkish Imperalism when it invades?

hiwa said...

hi again Murat, I hope you feel better now.
just wanted to find some proof for waht I had said in my previous comment.

for point 2, check this out, they use your hyphenated idea now, the first time I saw this in Turkish media!

Murat Altinbasak said...

Hiwa, Not sure where we're going with this as I've made my positions pretty clear. Let me try to address you points of contention:
1. I'm not asking you to abandon your democratic option. I'm asking you to stop licking your chops over "Northern Kurdistan", which is currently "occupied" by Turkey. Turkey has fought many wars. The odds of even one square of Turkey becoming "Northern Kurdistan", are infinitessimal if not impossible.
2. I am no diferent from the Turkish government because hyphenated ethnicity equals assimilation? I'm not so sure. Kurdish-Turks should accept that they are powerless (PKK terrorism doesn't count) to change their Turkish citizenship. Rejecting it is cusing them problems, as it did the "Montana Freemen". Click here:
3. Yes I still insist that my idea of using force as currency, is the only way for Kurds to win back "historic Northern Kurdistan". Obviously the PKK was once a show of such force, but is now bankrupt.
4. Don't be confused by the term "Amerikan Turk". It's sort of a misnomer. It refers to people of Turkish origin who were either born in the US or who moved here as an infant, meaning that they are fully assimilated to life in the US, without any "culture clash" issues. They are American citizens who happen to have Turkish roots. Most Turks in the US call themselves "Turkish Americans", which is fine for those who still speak fragmented English, to use a poor example.
6. I already addressed this above.

Murat Altinbasak said...


I couldn't answer your question without knowing how the Kurdish Turks would react to such a mitzvah. Turkish Imperialism? What would you call the Treaty of Sevres? The "Treaty of Land Grabbing"? No one seems willing to accept that scores of Turkish lives were lost, much blood was spilled while Turkey defended from land grabbers on three fronts, and prevailed. The Treaty of Lausanne was written with the blood of Turkish people, and was a just reward for what Turks went through to resist and triumph over the Imperialist gang-bang called Sevres.

metin Odemis said...

i have a different outlook on the entire kurdish situation. i can be convinced that Turkey should allow for the creation of a federated state in the southeastern parts of Turkey and allow kurds to rule themselves (democratically) without any assistance and cooperation be it financial and otherwise. That might be the solution. As it is, Turkey is 'wasting' a lot of energy there in the interest of pride.

Another point: I refer to Turkishness as the state of the citizenry of Turkey and not as ethnically Turkish. Any citizen of Turkey is Turkish. And if that state has an official religion or language, so be it. Until, as citizens of Turkey, Turkish citizens (including those of Kurdish ethnicity) can politically change that through due process, I don't believe in their breaking of the laws.

The same could be said of Israel for example. The Jewish religion and the 'Jewishness' of the ethnic makeup of Israel does not just apply to Jews but to its 'Arab' citizens. By merely being a Jew by birth I don't think entitles you automatic citizenship in Israel. Let us not forget, there are Arab Jews, as well as Arab Christians who are citizens of Israel and not necessarily Palestinian.

Murat Altinbasak said...

I don't believe non-Jews in Israel have all of the same rights and privileges as Jews do. There are some minor differences which I can't name off the top of my head. I do know that there are Arabs in the Israeli government, as it should be... But overall, I think that Israelis in general are terribly racist. This can be debated until the cows come home.

I don't believe an autonomous Kurdish state in eastern Turkey is a good idea. Turkey should never allow it. People pay a fortune to put "additions" on their homes, not to demolish them.

Your point on "Turkishness" is absolutely correct in my view. Nationality and ethnicity are two different things. Little did I know until I was grown up that I had Tatar and Bulgarian blood. This explains the slightly squinty slanted eyes of my paternal aunts and sister.

soro derwêş said...

What a lovely and very refreshing dialogue you are having here. I came across this blogg by accident while looking (here we go) for information on the Turkish state's aspirations to aquare military nuclear capabilities, which, I think will be the topic of discussion soon.

I haven't read much of the original text on Southern Kurdistan nor the replies yet, but wish to make the following comments. Hopefully I will be able to read it all soon:

Firstly, it is vital to point out, as one of the commentators does, that the Turks created a state for their own pleasure, murdering millions of Greeks, Armenians, Kurds and many other in the process. Turkey is a Turkish state, with all that entails. And it is a state that wants to extinguish the Kurds and have done that for 85 years now. The ideas has always been that the Kurds living under the Turkish dominance will be assimilated into Turkishness. That is jenoside, nothing else! Shame on you, the Turkish state and everybody supporting that state! Hence why the Kurds have to win: all humanity will win with it.

Secondly, as I believe the same commentator so rightly points out, the Turkish man (and woman) does not speak to you from his own mind and heart. His/her heart is silent and his/her mind is occuped, taken over, by the ideologists and the "social engineers" of the Turkish state. It is the state talking through the body of whomever. Therefore, the Turkish mentality lacks logic. The Turk fail to ask him/herself: these people (the Kurds) were living here thousands of years while I was continuesly being kicked around by people to whom I was nothing but a hasard. Surely, they must have had a life, before I came and spoiled it for them? Surely they must have had a land on which they were living? Surely that land must have had a name? That´s just common logic...

Why is the Turk so hateful of anything that has to do with the Kurds or Kurdishness? I tell you why... Recall please, that it is not the Turkish man nor woman we are having a dialogue with. It is the state speaking through the person: the very state that does everything in its power to make the Kurds disappear from the face of earth. And the best way to do that is to cut off the link between the people and her land. That's why the latest "game of words" is all about Turkiyelilik (meaning "a person from Turkey"?. I am no longer a Kurd nor Kurdish but "a person from Turkey". You are still a Turk, though and the country is called TURKey!. I no longer exist!

What a joke. No chance! The decade long Turkish nation-building project has failled. The Treaty of Lousanne, upon which the Turkish state (and also the Syrian, Iraqi and differently Iranian states) is built, is no longer valid because there is now a Kurdish state in Southern Kurdistan.

These developments, I believe, is the reson why the Turkish state might want to have its own nuclear weapons.

This is what I have to say for the moment... Might say more when/if I read more of the writings here.


Soro Derwêş

deertalker said...

Well, I do not understand these turks, it seems that they are not reasonable.

Why to insist on keeping diyarbakir or hakkari or tunceli etc. in turkey. What is it there to keep those barren rugged mountains.
Let them go with their predominantly kurdish population. In fact, let there be a kurdistan carved out of turkey and put all the kurds in turkey into it.

And built a border that can not be penetrated by the PKK butchers to slaughter turks anymore.

Then we turks will live happilly ever after in a turkey where there are no more any Abdullah Ocalan or any PKK butchers who are ready to massacre any turk they see.

Our brothers, fathers, and sons will not be butchered by PKK killing squads in such a turkey. We will not be taxed to finance the kurdish areas in current turkey and those taxes supposed to be used to by bread and milk will not be used by the PKK symphatisers to buy AK-47's and kill our sons and brothers.

Kurdish areas in turkey are the poorest in turkey with all the finance taken from the western (turkish) areas. Assume that the flow of cash and resources from the west (trukish areas) are completely cut, then can you imagine the situation in kurdish areas. I guess it will be worse than the current situation of armenia.

I don't care about that side of the story, but I am interested with the other side. When the kurdish tumor is completely amputated from the back of turkey, then we will be much more wealthy. We will not be needing such a big army anymore, we will not be waging a war to prevent the people from PKK butchers, we will not be paying taxes to build dams, roads, and schools for kurds in diyarbakir and hakkari. Or in other words, we will be having approximately the same resource but 10-30 million less people (mainly trouble makers).

When the kurds are gone with their barren lands (diyarbakir, hakkari, batman, sirnak, van, agri, tunceli, mus, bitlis, etc.) and with their leader Ocalan and with their PKK death squads, we turks, will be really happy and prosporous.

Assume all the kurds are driven out of istanbul (and from the west as well), wouldn't you feel safer, wouldn't you feel more civilized?

If there is a separation in turkey (turkey and kurdistan), this will be very benefical for turkey (i.e., western turkey). And it will be the loss of the kurds. I hope the turks in turkey realize this fact before the kurds do. And get rid of them and their lands as soon as possible.

In fact, this is what they want, not us! So nobody can blame us for the tragedy that they are creating for themselves.

Onur Aksaray said...

How are you my Kurdish and Turkish friends, I just came across this blog by luck, and after reading comments under this topic, I felt the need to post a comment too.Now I read one of our friend's posts saying that Kurds have been the "natives" of these lands for thousand years, but we "Turks" have been kicked and ridden out of everywhere we went like a "hasard"(what the heck does that mean anyway)??? Now how on the Earth can you ever come up with this claim? Is there a valid historical document that you can ever rely on?? NO, instead, the history already talks by itself: Turks did rule and not only did they govern those lands, but at the same time they did leave strong remarks of their legacy(that's what some historians mentioned, not ME and YES they are European and American!!)on every part of Central Asia, Anatolia,Iran, Balkans, India, that they ruled.This might sound awkward and too fanatic to you, but this is what historical records say.Forget about the historical records, isn't that already obvious you don't need to be a strong observer to realize this.Let me clarify it to you: On these lands called Souteastern Anatolia (You call it Kurdistan),there are traces from various civilizations (Most notably the Roman). For instance the name "Amida" was given to the city of today's Diyarbakir by Romans(Diyar-i Bekr was called by Emevians who later captured the city). Now addressing to that person who said we were driven out like "hasards", can you give me a simple artwork(not even a monument) that Kurds ever left on these lands under the name of "Kurd" ever recorded in history? Why, in places like Siirt, Mardin, Diyarbakir, Urfa we come across Medieval ISlamic monumments left by various Turkoman ruler clans(Atabegs) such as Artukogullari, Akkoyunlular, Mengucekler, Saltuklular, Zengi Atabegs (yes they ruled in MOSUL too) and names and names that I can't even put on the list those who claim these clans were in fact of Kurdish origin(because you know our history is biased for God's sake!!),please tell me are there such Kurdish names like Kutlug, Gok-boru, Yaghy-basan, Yakhshy,Bozan,Atsyz etc??Do I have to remind you that THE ONLY Kurdish origined clan who ever happened to rule in "Amida" (Kara Amid as it was referred by Akkoyunlu Uzun Hasan) were the Mervani, and they were given sovereignity by the Seljuki ruler Melik-Shah who already took the city before!! Yes bro, we were indeed driven out like "hasards"!!PLease can you show me any trace that Kurds ever ruled besides that you come up and complain that you lived here already "before" us?The historical records say that Diyar-i-bekr lived its most prosperous era in the Medieval age under Akkoyunlu rule(after Emevians) how come??? Isn't it funny that your brothers in Northern Iraq try to claim that Kerkuk is a "Kurdish name", when that name was given to the city by Tamerlane(Kurdish indeed hehe) So, before even discussing something PLEASE get your facts right!! I have no problems with Kurds, and I do respect them, please take this as a note somewhere too
Onur Aksaray

Orhan said...

There was never a country called kurdistan in history and there will never be one. No country in the middle east will allow it. As a Turk with some kurdish blood I can tell you that most kurds in turkey are assimilated. The only kurds that are making trouble are marxist kurds. The vast majority of the kurds are sunni muslims and loyal to its nation and live in peace with their sunni muslim turkish brothers and sisters. I have many kurdish relatives who would die for turkey, they love turkey more then most ordinary turks.
The last time the greeks tried to set foot in anatolia they were kicked out and now they are whining. Greeks should stop dreaming of anatolia. The balkans was ours once you dont see turks whining about losing the balkans.