Cultural Assimilation


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cultural assimilation History of Turkish Occupation of Northern Kurdistan.

History of Turkish Occupation of Northern Kurdistan.


    Eric jensen
    Poli. Sci. (Third World Politics)
    11/27/96

Since 1984, and especially the last few  months, the domestic problems of a
major N.A.T.O, Middle Eastern, and American ally state have come to the
forefront of the international news scene. That state is the Republic of Turkey
and it's primary troubles stem from the past seven decades of acrimonious
policies directed at the indigenous ethnic Kurds. The main problem, now, is the
Kurdish popular insurgency on it's hands, in Turkish occupied Northern Kurdistan.
The Kurdish question has long been covered up and denied by the state of Turkey,
but recent events has forced Turkey to concede that it has a serious Kurdish
insurgency on its hands. Turkey's inability to deal with this situation is the
result of the past seventy years of  cultural, political, and human rights
abuses directed against the Kurdish population. In fact, this "separatism" is so
out of hand that the Turkish government  has incessantly appealed to it's allies
and advisories alike to help counter the escalating Kurdish asperation to
succeed from the Turkish republic. Turkey's sputtering and deteriorating economy
is directly related to the long Kurdish struggle for independence. Turkey has
spent over eight billion dollars or twenty percent of her GDP to combat the ever
deteriorating predicament in northern Kurdistan, and should spend more in the
future(Laber). Because of the violence, the once prosperous tourist business of
Turkey, has now lost about $1.5 billion dollars annually since 1990. Many people
now talk openly of another possible military coup, there were three major
military coups during the last thirty years (Alister) These circumstances in the
state of  Turkey have also hurt her chances of ever joining the ever wealthy
European Union and battering its ailing economic situation. The depth of
Turkey's domestic and ethnic dilemma is one of the many that have arisen after
the end of the cold war, yet the cold war is a simple answer to a much more
complex one. The factors that have arisen to contribute to this civil war were
created far before Capitalism versus Communism, East versus West, or U.S versus
the Soviet Union. In order to really comprehend the holistic  situation in
Turkey one must first be familiar with the complete history of the Turks and
Kurds.

The Kurds of Turkey constitutes, by far, the largest ethnic minority group in
Turkey. The estimate of their population, however, are very dubious because of
the past Turkish policy to deny the very existence of any minorities within the
borders of her state. In fact, past Turkish rhetoric has been that there is no
official Kurdish problem in Turkey, because officially no Kurds exist. We can
ascertain that the kurds make up  between twenty-five and thirty-three percent
of the Turkey's population. This would put the Kurdish population about twelve
to twenty million (Morris). Because of past and present  forced Turkish
assimilation practices, the Kurds live in all parts of the country, but most of
the Kurdish population is concentrated  in the southeastern part of Turkey. They
represent a high percentage of the population in fifteen provinces and take up a
total of thirty percent of all of Turkey (Kendal). Economically, the Kurds are
the poorest inhabitants of the country. The per capita of a Kurd is one-tenth of
a Turk living in Istanbul; well below the poverty line (McDowell). While the
rest of Turkey has modernized and adopted some capitalistic practices, the
Kurdish areas, by contrast, are underdeveloped and exploited by feudal landlords.
The wealth of the area is "drained and channeled to the Turkish metropolis
(Kendal)." Much of the region is relatively unchanged since the last seventy
years of Turkish rule or has suffered even worse economically. The thirty
million Kurds of the Middle East have lived in Kurdistan before record of modern
history was kept. The very first mention of the Kurds in history was about 3,000
BC, under the name Gutium., as they fought the Summerians(Spieser). Later around
800 BC, the Indo-European Median tribes settled in the Zagros mountain region
and coalesced with the Gutiums, and thus the modern Kurds speak from as Aryan
language (Morris). The Kurds are mentioned by Xenaphon, a Greek mercenary, as he
retreated from Persia with ten thousand men in 401 BC, he says of the Kurds,
"These people, lived in the mountains and were very war-like and not subject to
the Persian king. Indeed once a royal army of 120,000 thousand had once invaded
their country, and not a man ... more

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Steps Towards The Russian Revolution

The quotation, "I shall maintain the principle of autocracy just as firmly and
unflinchingly as it was preserved by my unforgettable dead father.'  (Nicholas II) In spite of
the Czar's decrees and declarations, Russia, by the beginning of the 20th century, was
overripe for revolution," is supported by political and socioeconomic conditions late
monarchial Russia.

Nicholas II was the Czar of Russia from 1896-1917, and his rule was the brute of
political disarray.  An autocrat, Nicholas II had continued the divine-right monarchy held by
the Romanovs for many generations.  From the day Russia coronated Nicholas II as
Emperor, problems arose with the people.  As was tradition at coronations, the Emperor
would leave presents for the peasants outside Moscow.  The people madly rushed to grab
the gifts, and they trampled thousands in the bedlam.
As an autocrat, no other monarch in Europe claimed such large powers or stood
so high above his subjects as Nicholas II.  Autocracy was traditionally impatient and short-
tempered.  He wielded his power through his bureaucracy, which contained the most
knowledgeable and skilled members of Russian high society.  Like the Czar, the
bureaucracy, or chinovniki, stood above the people and were always in danger of being
poisoned by their own power.
When Sergei Witte acted as Russia's Minister of Finance from 1892 to 1903,
attempted to solve Russia's "riddle of backwardness" in its governmental system.  He is
considered more of a forerunner of Stalin rather than a contemporary of Nicholas II.  In
1900, Witte wrote a memorandum to Nicholas II, underscoring the necessity of
industrialization in Russia.  After the government implemented Witte's plan, Russia had an
industrial upsurge.  All of Russia, however, shared a deep-seated resentment of the sudden
jump into an uncongenial way of life.  Witte realized that Nicholas II was not meant to carry
the burden of leading Russia to an industrial nation as a Great Power.  Nicholas II's
weakness was even obvious to himself, when he said, "I always give in and in the end am
made the fool, without will, without character."  At this time, the Czar did not lead, his
ministers bickered amongst themselves, and cliques and special-interest groups interfered
with the conduct of government.  Nicholas II never took interest in public opinion, and
seemed oblivious to what was happening around him.  He was still convinced he could
handle Russia himself.
By 1902, the peasants had revolted against Witte's industrialization movements,
which were marked by a raise in taxes as Russia spent more than it ever had.  Russia was
struggling in the European and Asian markets, and with much domestic unrest, Nicholas II
did not want foreign affairs muddled as well.  Nicholas II dismissed Witte from the Minister
of Finance in August 1903.  
January 22, 1905, commonly known as Bloody Sunday, was a revolutionary
event only because of what followed, not of what actually happened on that day.  A group
of workers and their families set out, with the backing of several officials, to present a
petition to the Czar.  As they approached the Winter Palace, rifles sprayed them with
bullets.  This cruel act by the Czar shattered what smidgen of faith the workers and
peasants still held for Nicholas II, and sparked the quickly-aborted "October Revolution."  
Peasants and workers revolted in an elemental and anarchic rebellion, ultimately turning a
large-scale strike and bringing the government, economy, and all public services to a
complete halt.  By October 1905, the relations between the Czar and his subjects had
come to a complete breakdown.
The October Manifesto, created in 1905, caused two things.  First,  it granted
basic civil liberties to all, despite religion or nationality; it even legalized political parties.  
This concession was capped by the creation of an elected legislative body, the Imperial
Duma.  Second, it split the revolutionary front, reconciling the most cautious elements
among the moderates, who had no heart for violence, with a government which promised
to end the abuses of autocracy.  This formed the political party called Octobrist, which lead
the Duma.
Peter Stolypin was Chair of the Soviet of Ministers (1907-1911).  Stolypin's goal
was to seal the rift between the government and the public.  His scheme was a moderate
one, based largely on Witte's earlier suggestions.  Its essence was the creation of ... more

cultural assimilation

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