PLIGHT a military operation known as “Al Anfal

PLIGHT OF THE KURDS
IN IRAQ AND TURKEY   
   IRAQ
The period during which Iran-Iraq war was
taking place, the Kurds were vigorously 
supporting the Iranians which earned them disdain of the then dictator Saddam 
Hussein who in revenge sent his troops to attack his own civilians with
chemical 
weapons and massacred them in the most horrendous way the world had ever 
witnessed. The International community showed their solidarity with the
oppressed 
but did not take any drastic step to take hold of the situation. In a military
operation known as “Al Anfal Campaign” systematic genocide of the Kurdish
people was carried out; under this program the Kurdish town of Qala Dizeh was
completely destroyed and completely wiped off of the inhabitants. Under
this program was another sinister motive of Arab-Izing the city of Kirkuk. The
oil rich city of Iraq was inhabited by the Kurds and needless to say a number
of human rights violations were carried out in the area. Saddam’s reign in Iraq
proved to be disastrous for the Kurdish population.  After the gulf crises
came to a halt in 1988, the United Nations Security Council resolution 688
introduced the idea for a safe haven for the Kurdish people. Under this
resolution a no fly zone was established on the northern part
of Iraq which however left many of the Kurds vulnerable to the atrocities of
Saddam Hussein.  Violent clashes continued between the Kurdish freedom
fighters and the Iraqi forces, however in the year 1991 after the defeat and
exhaustion from the Second Gulf War the Iraqi troops withdrew. The Iraqi Kurdistan
after the Iraqi troops left started to function de facto independently. Two
important parties The Kurdish 
Democratic Party and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan came about. However the
clashes between these two parties led to intra-Kurdish conflict. Turkey prior
to the 
US led invasion into Iraq and overthrow of Saddam Hussein in the March of the
year 
2003, did not allow United States to launch a northern front into Iraq from her
bases. This decision of Turkey unintentionally made, aided the Iraqi Kurds in
becoming a US ally. The Kurds gained USA’s friendship by allowing them to use
their land to open a northern front in Iraq and secure the oil fields in and
around Kirkuk. After the successful overthrow of Saddam, Massoud Barzani and
Jalal Talabani, along with three independent Kurdish leaders were included in
The Iraq Governing Council that was appointed in 2003. Both Arabic and Kurdish
were recognized as the official languages of Iraq. Further, the constitution
also reflected on this change where Islamic principles are to be considered “a
source,” but not the only or the primary source, of law.
TURKEY  
Turkey
hosts one of the largest numbers of Kurds in the region. The Kurds live all 
across Turkey but they are largely concentrated in the east and south east of
the region. The republic’s unfair treatment of the Kurds is a frequent subject
of International Criticism. Kemal Ataturk the founding father of the modern
Turkey is often blamed as the discriminator who made life arduous for the
Turkish Kurds. 
Turkey in the year 1930 made a policy that aimed at forcible Turkification of
the 
Kurds; they became extreme in their efforts in the year 1937 when the Tunceli 
rebellion took place. Tensions between the two groups persisted till the year
1980 
when military coup took place. The success of the Kurdistan Worker’s Party in
the year had in mobilizing a large number of Kurds during 1980s and 1990’s
proved that the effort of Turkification was futile. Turkey is still not part of
the European Union because of the longstanding Kurdish issue. Recently Turkey
also refused to attack the ISIS faction that launched an attack on Kurds
residing in Kobane – northern town city near Turkey; neither is it allowing the
Turkish Kurds to take part in the battle hence triggering Kurdish protests.
ANALYSIS
The Kurdish issue serves as a
fine example of how culture can drastically impact the choices of groups and
individuals and how it can result in the incorporation of a long lasting
conflict between two ethnic groups. The problem began with the betrayal of
promise and words by the British who had given their word that once the allied
powers would leave the land of Turkey the indigenous group of Kurds would gain
independence and would have a separate homeland to practice their cultural values
and design a constitution based upon those ideals. After the British left,
Kemal Ata Turk rose to power and crushed the hopes and expectations of the
Kurds.  The 
policy of Turkification served as a last nail to the coffin of negotiation
between the 
Turks and the Kurds. The concept of nation building had been present amongst
the Kurds even prior to the policy of Turkification because they believed that
they are entitled to a separate homeland because of their distinct cultural
identity they had and therefore could not live freely with the Turks however
after 1925 the protests became even more vigorous and the clash has since then
distanced the two factions even more. It is because of the stubbornness of
Turkish to impose their culture on Kurds the issue ceases to disappear and it
appears that it would never cease until the cultural aspect of human nature
meets its demise, which is impossible in the near future considering that
evolution takes millions of years and the need of human beings to categorize themselves
with alike looking individuals is intrinsic and cannot be that easily rooted
out. Hence culture has and will always be a cause of conflict between the
people of multifarious cultures.

 

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