All the violence going on in the Middle East is always predictable, and during this period in human history – expected. This article was inspired by a BBC report
of more Turks being killed by ruthless, murderous Islamic militants.
It saddens me, however, to see the Turks are still battling a faction called the PKK
, who formed from Kurdish immigrants who were welcomed because of their treatment by the late infamous Saddam Hussein
. Turkey (actually properly spelled: Türkiye
) is a role model for Muslims, who after a successful revolution became a republic that used the Western democracy as its model to create the Republic of Türkiye
out of the ashes of the ruthless theocratic tyrannical empire called Ottoman
I take this as personal because I lived in Turkey while assigned to the NATO LSE HQ in Izmir, Turkey for four and a half years – it was a gratifying and personal learning experience; as well as a region filled with ancient history and ruins.
While stationed there I published a book entitled American in Turkey in two volumes. The digest in one volume soon to be published via Amazon in Kindle E-book format (hopefully before the end of this year), for which you do not need a kindle to read because Amazon offers a free PC program to enjoy Kindle formatted E-books. … I digress.
The Turks and the Kurds have had troubles for quite a while, and to put it simply, the Kurds (those that support or are membership of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party
, PKK, and designated terrorist organization by the US, UK, and the Republic of Türkiye. The Kurds have betrayed the kindness of the Turks and the Turkish government who allowed them to cross their border from the south to settle in southeastern (and later to major cities) in order to escape persecution and genocide via Saddam Hussein
. However, they soon demanded that the Turkish government provide a portion of Türkiye as their own sovereign homeland. History proves they never hold their homeland for long. Instead of assimilation, they unjustly attack the very government that saved them from genocide. This is strikingly similar to the situation with Mexicans illegally crossing our borders, illegally working and living in the United States with no intention of assimilation, but instead insisting they are only occupying that which they perceive is stolen real estate. They insist that Americans adopt their language instead of them adopting ours.
Yes, it is all too familiar.
Ethnic Kurds consist of about 25% of the population
in Türkiye as of 2002, a population explosion since the days of Saddam Hussein’s brutal regime. Unlike the Turks, their language, based upon the Indo-European dialect. While originally in the southeastern portion of Türkiye, they live in all provinces today, but still primarily in the east and southeast of the nation. Historically this was part of Kurdistan.
|Mustafa Kemal Ataturk
The attempt to assimilated Kurds began around the 1930s, when the Republic of Turkey had only existed since 1923, thanks to their “George Washington” – Atatürk
. Since that time Kurds have resisted assimilation in a country that should be a model of an Islamic nation. They are practicing Muslims, with Mosques all over the republic, who pray and practice their religious beliefs – but live in peace with the People of the Book – the Christians and Jews. Indeed, when Jews looked for sanctuary when Europe became anti-Semitic, the Turks afforded them sanctuary. In my first apartment in Izmir, my neighbor was a descendent of those migrating Jews who spoke English as well as she did Turkish. The family – mother, father and son – loved ice cream, so I would ensure they had a supply when I went grocery shopping.
Since the 1980s, Kurdish movements included both peaceful political activities for basic civil rights for Kurds in Turkey as well as violent armed rebellion and guerrilla warfare, including terrorist attacks aiming Turkish soldiers and their families, demanding a separate Kurdish state.According to a Turkish opinion poll, 59% of self-identified Kurds in Turkey think that Kurds in Turkey do not seek a separate state (while 71.3% of self-identified Turks think they do).
|Kurdish Boys, Diyarkabir
After the establishment of the Republic of Türkiye that ended the caliphates and sultanate of the Ottoman Empire
, committed genocide against Armenians, were led by Ottoman Kurdish soldiers and Ottoman military Turks (after the Republic was established) have been erroneously blamed for it.
However, in 1915 there also was genocide of Kurds as well, so the history becomes muddled as to who did what and why – all falling back to the Ottoman regimes policies of its government. In 1937 and 1938, 50,000 to 70.000 Alevi Kurds
were killed and thousands went into exile in an Islamic rebellion. The Republic of Turkey had separated its government from the affairs of religion, which was part of the squabble.
|Victims of Hussein Gas Attack
In 1960, there was a military coup
and the State Planning Organization
was established under the Prime Minister to solve the problem of Kurdish separatism as well as their underdevelopment. In 1931, a proposed ethnic migration sought to reestablish Kurds to the southeast would help and the Minister of Labor sought to assimilate the Kurds into a working program to improve their social status.
During the 1970s, the separatist movement combined with the Marxist-Leninist
Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) that established a political entity supposedly for the benefit of Kurds, but has been listed as a terrorist organization internationally among many states
. The PKK
has a militia that has about 58,000 members. Turkish village guards
try to protect their villages against the Kurdish militants, the Turkish government providing arms and supplies as part of the village guard system
. During the 1970s Kurdish uprisings, an estimated 3,000 Kurdish villages were wiped from the map that displaced 378,000 people, and the bias Human Rights Watch
Evacuations were unlawful and violent. Security forces would surround a village using helicopters, armored vehicles, troops, and village guards, and burn stored produce, agricultural equipment, crops, orchards, forests, and livestock. They set fire to houses, often giving the inhabitants no opportunity to retrieve their possessions. During the course of such operations, security forces frequently abused and humiliated villagers, stole their property and cash, and ill-treated or tortured them before herding them onto the roads and away from their former homes. The operations were marked by scores of “disappearances” and extrajudicial executions. By the mid-1990s, more than 3,000 villages had been virtually wiped from the map, and, according to official figures, 378,335 Kurdish villagers had been displaced and left homeless.
ignored the fact that the communist-backed militants were attacking Turks and unlawfully proclaiming that part of Türkiye was theirs. They also ignored the fact that they sided with the Kurds against Saddam Hussein
’s henchmen. Indeed, the Turkish air force was forced to bomb rebel settlements in Iraq
. Read opinion poll report
In 2010, after PKK rebels killed five Turkish soldiers in a series of incidents in eastern and southeastern Turkey, several locations in Iraqi Kurdistan were attacked by the Turkish Air Force early in June 2010.The air attack was reported 4 days later in a news article released immediately after the attack.The tense condition has continued on the border since 2007, with both sides responding to each others every offensive move
The Kurds, as an ethnic group, have historically inhabited the mountainous area to the south of Caucasus mountain range and speak an Indo-European language based upon Iranian. The Kurds came under Islamic rule between the 10th
centuries, founded by Saladin
. After the Battle of Chaldiran
in 1514, the Kurds became an alliance with the Ottomans and Kurdish military integrated within the Ottoman Empire’s military. The first account written of Kurdish history was the Sharafnameh
of 1597. Since the 20th
century, the Kurds’ advocacy of nationhood has erupted into violence against Turkish Armed Forces, from 1984 to 1999.
The term Kurd
is from Arabic literature sources of the 1st
century of the Islamic era. It refers to their pastoral nomadism. Kurds have always been primarily a nomadic and tribal people, the latter causing much of the internal strife. My experiences with the Iraqi tribal Kurds was when humanitarian efforts of US forces brought food and supplies into their mountain strongholds, the tribal leaders would fight over the control of it. Their history proves that they never hold a homeland, a Kurdish state because if they are not fighting others, they are fighting amongst themselves. The Human Rights Watch
organization only looks from the view of the Kurds, who have been influenced by terrorism and Marxist factions that have no desire to live in peace or be fair with their neighbors and those who try to help them.
|Kurds Through History
Kurds written history begins with the caliphs of Baghdad and the insurrections that occurred in northern Kurdistan in 838 and 905. While Kurds ultimately turned to Islam as their adopted religion, a Kurd named Narseh
converted to Christianity, changing his name to Theophobos
during the reign of the Christian Emperor Theophilus
. He became a close friend and military commander for the emperor. Before becoming a Christian, some accounts
relate that he was a Zoroastrianmobad
cleric) from Khorasan
, fighting against the Arabs in the 8th
century, later baptized as a Christian.
armies defeated his forces in 833, according to Muslim historian Tabari
and about 60,000 of his followers were killed. After the defeat, Narseh and his remaining followers settled in Pontus
, north-central Anatolia
. [M. Izady, The Kurds: A Concise Handbook, Taylor & Francis, 1992, p.42.]
Throughout Kurdish history after the Muslim conquests, there was a tendency for Kurdish tribes to move northwest as vassals of greater Muslim powers–from the Zagros to east Assyria and south-central Armenia, to west Assyria and west Armenia, to in modern times, migration of individuals into western Turkey, western Europe or even the Western Hemisphere.
In 837, the Kurdish lord Rozeguite
, founded the town of Akhlat
on the banks of Lake Van
and made it his capital. While independent it was considered a vassal of the caliph. In the first half of the 10th
century, the Aishanid dynasty
over a vast area in central and northern Zagros
. One of the Kurdish dynasties could have been supreme and developed a Kurdish state if there were not for massive tribes that came out of the steppes of Central Asia. The Selçuk (Seljuk
) Turks conquered Iran and imposed their rule on the caliph of Baghdad, as well as annexing Kurdish establishments one after another. However, about 1150, Ahmad Sanjar
, the last of the Selçuk monarchs, created a province from those lands and called it Kurdistan
– thus founding the nation of the Kurds.
(1254-1324) met the Kurds in Mosul on his way to China and wrote that he learned about Kurdistan and the Kurds and related the enlightenment to Europeans. Marco Polo writings
collected and translated by the Italian Kurdologist
, Mirella Galetti
into the Kurdish language in order to preserve Kurdish history. Kurdish power was most prominent during the 12th
century when the great Saladin
When the Ottoman Empire took control, population was removed from Kurdistan and the Caucasus region. Hundreds of thousands of Kurds, as well as Armenians
, and Turkmens
, were removed from the border regions and resettled into the central part of Persia. Kurds in Anatolia especially suffered horrific acts during this period.
After that, Kurds were ruled by feudal chiefs and two powerful families rebelled against the Ottomans in 1830. They were the Bedr Khan of Botan
who arose from the west of Kurdistan and marched to the east to establish authority in Mosul and Erbil.
The Kurdish nationalist movement began to gain momentum after World War I ended and the termination of the Ottoman Empire, specifically with the Turks, even after the Turkish Republic was established. European western powers were looking to carve up the region and so sided with the dying Ottomans, especially the United Kingdom (Britain at the time). They promised the Kurds that if they fought against the Turkish rebels (under General Kemal-Atatürk) would guarantee Kurdish freedom and a state, but they never fulfilled that promise, for the Turks gained their freedom as a republic. The Kurds then became upset because the new Republic of Türkiye was declared a secular state, and Muslim Kurds wanted a sovereign Kurdish state created that would be theocratic. The open government of the 1950s afforded the Kurds a chance to gain political office and representation in the Turkish Republic, but the move towards integration was stopped
when the 1960 Turkish coup d’état
In recent times, 1994 and beyond, the Turkish parliament has been known to outbreak into violence, sometimes with fistfights in the chamber
. For example, in 1994, Leyla Zana
, a female Kurdish representative in the Turkish Parliament, as charged for making “separatist speeches” and sentenced to 15 years in prison. According to Amnesty International:
She took an oath of loyalty in Turkish, as required by law, then added in Kurdish, “I shall struggle so that the Kurdish and Turkish peoples may live together in a democratic framework”, Parliament erupted with shouts of ‘Separatist!’, ‘Terrorist!’, and ‘Arrest Her!’
As violence and wars surround the Turkish Republic, so it seems that it is evolving. It would be a tragedy if it fell from a secular state to an Islamic theocracy and the long friendship with the Turks ends. Turkey, because of its capital, Istanbul (Constantinople) has been since ancient times the crossroad between the East and West, it has always been a strategic area. Internal strife and outside Islamic fundamental influences (further irritated with Marxist organizations) may change all of that if the Turks do not return to the path of a democratic republic established by Atatürk
and the blood of Turkish patriots. Atatürk
impressed the western world, and Lord John Kinross
, who fought against him when the Turks sought freedom from the Ottoman regime and colonization by European nations, wrote the best biography
I have read.