News from the Revolution in Rojava and Wider Kurdistan
In a new article from Özgür Gündem, the paper talks about the history of the division of Northern and Western Kurdistan, and the growing illegitimacy of Ankara’s policies surrounding the border
The Kurds Never Recognized Lausanne
Among other issues, the article discusses the history of the border. Until the break-up of the Ottoman Empire, Kurdish communities lived undivided in the region. The current border came into existence on October 21st, 1921, when Franklin Bouillon and Yusuf Kemal Bey signed the Ankara Treaty on behalf of the French Empire and the Turkish Provisional Government, after which French forces were forced to withdraw from positions north of the current border. However many Kurds living close to the border continue to have relatives on the other side, and despite years of state pressure they still maintain relations and are in contact with each other. Today Ankara is trying to update the status quo that was created after the Ankara treaty and gained international recognition with Lausanne, signed two years later.
The paper spoke with three men – the journalist and writer Erdoğan Aydın, the political scientist Fikret Başkaya, and the historian and writer Faik Bulut – in order to get their insight into the current situation. In general all men agreed on one thing, that current Turkish policy towards the Kurds will fail to resolve the crisis, and is likely to make it much worse.
“With what objective is the AKP constructing this wall? Did someone remind them of the wall that the Israelis built in Palestine? The approach is not a sensible approach. It is necessary to confront this forcefully.”
Başkaya drew attention to the fact that the AKP’s goal in building a wall on the border with Rojava is to prevent Kurdish unity, and recalling how after the Ankara Treaty Kurds were divided from each other, he went on to say “In the past during religious holidays Kurds who had relatives on the other side would meet by the wire fences and celebrate. Now the AKP with this new approach to the wall wants to make [the wall and that division] even more visible than before. It is necessary to confront this forcefully.
“This government, however much it appears to reject the past nationalist state tradition, in fact continues to carry on practices that demonstrate that on the subject of borders and the single-identity nation-state it is no different from states in the past. This development carries a tragic significance in that no matter how much it is claimed in Turkey that the borders drawn between itself and Iraq and Syria are artificial, there is a desire for a Turkey that is unable to solve the Kurdish issue, and whether it be administered by the the coup leaders or the AKP, a policy will be pursued will regress, build a wall, lay out new land mines
“In a period where borders are becoming meaningless – in the place of building a wall that would remind one of the Nazis, in the place of supporting al-Nusra and similar gangs in oppressing the Kurd’s legitimate right to form their own local power-base – if only the complete opposite had been done and an investment was made in peace. If we begin with the words of the old saying “a tree is known by its fruit” what a pity it is that the AKP government is overseeing the construction of a border wall as a demonstration that it really does not want peace during a process that expresses itself as a peace process. Right on the anniversary of the Ankara Treaty this is an important indication of how this mentality of disastrous tutelage, one-mindedness and dominance that we would never celebrate has limited our freedom of movement and broken us. That policies that one observes in Turkey now are a medical experiment with the politics of schizophrenia.”
“Whether borders are built around the same people, or sister peoples it makes no difference, they are always problematic formations…alongside this the biggest blow that came with the drawing of borders and the divisions implemented by the Sykes-Picot treaty hit the Kurds above all. But in any case if we compare borders to stitches then in time they will not be able to hold. Now the people have had too much of borders and want to found a common Middle Eastern society.