Turkish Independence


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turkish independence TURKEY-KURDS conflict


Turkey's key internal conflict centers on the role of its large Kurdish minority, ethnically and linguistically distinct, in a state that constitutionally consists of Turks.
   This issue has been with Turkey almost since the foundation of the Turkish State in 1923. The Kurds were promised the creation of an independent state as part of the treaty of Sevres in 1920 but this part of the treaty was never ratified and Turkey has refused to recognize the existence of a separate Kurdish ethnic community within its borders.
   Even so, Half of Turkey's Kurds have moved from the south east to the western cities of Turkey and have increasingly become integrated into the Turkish economy. Fifteen million individuals of Kurdish origin presently live in the republic of Turkey and are striving to achieve legal recognition and to establish legal rights after having been subject to economic disadvantages and human right violations for decades.
   A large number of Kurds have immigrated to Europe, where they engaged in nationalist activities such as the PKK. Since 1984, an unofficial war has raged between successive Turkish governments and the Kurdish worker's party (PKK), An armed group trying to gain autonomy for the country's 15 million Kurds. This war resulted in something between 20,000 and 30,000 deaths, with innocent villagers, being subject to interrogation, torture, indiscriminate violence and even death.


For better understanding the international conflicts and the behavior of states, David Singer introduced the idea of levels of analysis. He distinguished between two broad levels: the macro level that explains the events from an international and global perspective, and the micro level that explains what happened from an internal point of view.
The Turkey-Kurds conflict could be described using various levels of analysis:

   At the micro-level, influences on decisions is determined by the structure of the Turkish government: Since the foundation of the Turkish state in 1923, the Turkish government has to cope with the policy born with the Turkish republic itself, that the national population has a single identity, that of Turks. So when Mustafa Kamal (Ataturk) began to form a Turkish nation state, it was not clear what constituted a Turk but soon, Kurds were considered as Turks and a policy aiming at the detribalization and assimilation of the Kurds was adopted The Turkish government's pursuit of full assimilation has led to the proscription of publications of any book, newspaper, or other material in the Kurdish language. Moreover, there has also been an instance of arrests of entertainers for singing songs or performing in Kurdish.
If we look deeply at the government structure, we can see that historically, Turkey lacks government openness. With the birth of the Turkish republic in 1923, the Turkish government did not satisfy the demands of the Kurds who were seeking independence. And since it is more of an authoritarian and closed system, the public opinion did no have any impact on the government.

   The non-governmental characteristics of the society as a whole also affect or condition choices. The Turkish society is the most politically advanced Muslim society of the world:
It has deep Muslim roots that affect its perceptions of minority status. Kurds for example, were never considered a minority under the Ottoman Islamic law because they too were Muslims: Islamic law recognizes only non-Muslims as officially constituting "minorities". Most Turks today do not accept the concept of Kurdish minorities within the country, but Turkey is putting effort to reconcile modern nationalism with traditional Islamic views.
As for the Kurds, they are bearers of a long tradition and culture of their own for perhaps two-millenium and have a strong sense of Kurdish identity. They are strongly attached to their culture and background and refuse to surrender their sense of Kurdish identity.
The Ideologies of the Turkish and Kurdish societies contribute towards the better understanding of the origin of the Turkey-Kurds conflict.  

   On the international or macro level, Kurds are distributed between Iraq, Iran, Syria, America and the former U.S.S.R and are minorities in all the countries in which they have been living for years. In Iran, Iraq and Syria Kurds have PKK bases. A closer analysis of these states indicates, however, that Syria has given the PKK by far the most overt support, ... more

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Origins of Distrust Between th

The Arab world has been one of the most confusing areas known to the western world. Because of this confusion, the people of the Middle East have been made to suffer, not only at the hands of the west, but also by their own.  Even though Arab and western world relations have been stabalizing, they are still long way off from achieving a lasting peace.
       
     The roots of all these problems go back to the settlement imposed on the Middle East in 1918-1922(Field 26). Since before the start of World War I, there was a great Western presence in the area we know today as the Arab world. Britsh and French forces occupied Northern Africa since 1882; British occupied Egypt, at the request of Sultan in Constantinople, and the region we today call the Mahgreb: Morocco, Tunisia, and Algeria.  In addition, to its presence in Egypt, Britain also kept the Gulf states under her protection and held Aden as a colony.
       
     According to the version of events one hears in the Middle East, is that British and French policy at the time was a straightforward betrayal of the Arabs(Field 28). Because of the Ottoman rule in the Middle East, the Europeans began to persuade the Arab leaders to revolt by promising them their independence. But what was meant, was independence from Turkish rule with the aid, supervision and/or protection from Britain and France. In simple terms, the Europeans powers would be the new occupiers of the Middle East.
       
       The deception came in the form of two documents; one important to the Europeans powers, and the other to the Jews. The Sykes-Picot Agreement of February 1916, was the document that divided the Middle East between Britain and France. The agreement stated that Lebanon and Syria would be set aside as areas of French interests and the British were free to intervene in the Arab region in the South. Sykes-Picot remained a secret to the Arabs till 1917, when after the Bolshevik Revolution, Russia had published it.
       
       From 1918 the Europeans began to place monarchs in the countries(lands) they had established. Some remained in power for a short amount of time (Sherif Hussein) and others began a lineage (Abdullah in Transjordan). Nevertheless, the rulers that were placed by Britain, were deposed of due to the nationalistic ideas that were arising in the Middle East.
       
       The second form of deception was the Balfour Decleration, in which was stated that the British government favoured and supported the establishment in Palestine of a natural home for the Jewish people(Field 44). Even though it didnt create a Jewish state, the Balfour Declaration set the framework. The British government was now obliged to support Zionism. Since 1919 till the present day, violence has been breaking out in Israel due to the immigration of Jews into Palestine. Later, the Jews began to mount attacks on the British when they recommended quotas on Jewish immigration. In 1929, there was a reported 156,000 Jews, by 1946, the number was up to 600,000. After years of attacks by Jewish militants, the British left Palestine on May 14, 1948, a month after militants slaughtered the Arab population of Dier Yassein. The state of Israel came into existence 6 PM EST. ten minutes later, the United States officially recognized Israel. The next day, Egypt, Syria, Transjordan, Lebanon, and Iraq sent 20,000 men to attack the newly created state. That attack proved to be a disaster for the Arab. The only state to come out on top was Transjordan, who aquired the West Bank after the war.
       
       After the deafeat of the Arab forces, questions began to arise on why the war was lost to the Israelis, and why their government was ineffective. The answer came to be that it was the fault of the colonial powers: Britain and France. ... more

turkish independence

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