Sign In / Up

Add contribution as a guest

Your email will not be displayed publicly
Benefit of signing in/signing up to personalize comment

Comment as a guest

Your email will not be displayed publicly
Benefit of signing in/signing up to personalize comment

Login

Not a member Register   Forgot Password
or connect using
 

Email

 

Rudaw

Turkey

Kurds See Turkish Reference to Kurdish Province as Step Forward

By HEMIN KHOSHNAW 3/4/2013
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Photo: AFP
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Photo: AFP


ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – In a country where until recently even the mention of the word Kurdistan was taboo, the Turkish prime minister’s reference to a historical “Kurdistan province” under the Ottoman Empire is seen as a step forward for the country’s large Kurdish minority, which for decades has struggled for recognition and basic rights.

The comments last week on CNN Turk by Recep Tayyip Erdogan, whose Justice and Development Party (AKP) is engaged in historic peace talks with the jailed leader of the separatist and illegal Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), were received positively by Turkey’s Kurds, who have been demanding a system of self-governance.

The Ottoman system of vilayets, or provinces, fell apart with the dissolution of the empire in the aftermath of the First World War.

“Talking about a vilayet system was a red line in Turkey till today,” noted Bayram Bozyel, deputy chairman of Freedoms and Rights Party (HAK-PAR), a licensed Kurdish party in Turkey.

“Erdogan talking about this topic, even verbally, is considered a very good step,” he said, adding that since the foundation of the Turkish Republic in 1923, on the ruins of the Ottoman Empire, Turkey’s Kurds have suffered under a centralized rule.

The Turkish premier opened indirect peace talks in February with PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan, who has been kept in virtual isolation at a prison on Turkey’s Imrali island since his capture in 1999. 

On March 21, in a message marking the Kurdish New Year, Ocalan declared a ceasefire in the three-decade war with Ankara that has claimed more than 40,000 lives, telling supporters that the Kurds are embarking on a new, political struggle.

Although the Turkish government has not publicly outlined what it would cede in return, it is widely believed that Ankara is amenable to constitutional changes that would grant recognition and rights to the Kurds.  Kurdish politicians and activists hope to take administration of Turkey’s Kurdish areas into their own hands, as they did under the Ottomans.

“The governing system of the Ottomans was not centralized like now. Their vilayets were independent in everything except foreign affairs,” said Bozyil, who does not see the return of that system anytime soon.

“The Turkish government has referred to 2023 for the realization of this system. This is a big problem. If the vilayet system is needed now, why delay it 10 more years? Maybe he (Erdogan) wants to please the Kurds with these words and delay the issue for 10 more years," he said.

According to political observers, if the system is returned, Turkey will be divided into 18 large municipalities, including the Kurdish regions of Diyarbakir, Mardin and Urfa.

But Bozyil cautioned that, "Kurdistan must not be divided again with the pretext of problem-solving. Kurdistan is one with all its residents, history and culture.”

Murat Bozlak, MP of the Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) that has been the intermediary in Ankara’s dialogue with Ocalan, welcomed Erdogan’s comments to CNN Turk, saying he believed that the vilayet system will help resolve Turkey’s Kurdish issue.

"The Kurds of Turkey demand the rights of identity, culture, and education in their native language. They also want self-governance in Turkey. The vilayet system will become a solution. In this system the Kurdish language will become a formal language in the government institutions in Kurdistan," he said.

Zevar Ozdemir, an AKP MP from the Kurdish city of Batman in Turkey, said that, “The vilayet system is a Turkish reality. We have been avoiding this reality till now, but we can no longer continue to do that.”

Comments

 
ali | 18/4/2013
Vilayet governers were appointed by King at Ottoman times.And education language was Turkish even in State schools in Diyarbakir.
Tags :
Print Email to a friend
Save this story
1188 Views

Be Part of Your Rudaw!

Share your stories, photos and videos with Rudaw, and quite possibly the world.

What You Say

Peshraw | 9/20/2014 2:42:32 PM
@Turkish Muslim. I'm not sure if you do understand what you just said. i tell you why the syrian people suffer this much. it's because of people like...
Seyed | 9/20/2014 4:43:36 PM
Canada to persident barzani you the only kurdis hope please i understand you cant send peshmerga to koban would you please send them weapon so kobani...
Kurdish President Urges World to Help Syrian Kurds against IS Attacks
| yesterday at 07:00 | (35)
aNgrYbiRd | 9/20/2014 4:38:00 PM
Did PYD ask for agreement when they rushed to help Peshmerga?
Turkish Muslim | 9/20/2014 4:41:23 PM
If Peshmerga will help the Kobane traitors , then Turkey must stop that oil pipeline and send secretly a army of 50,000 soldiers armed to the teeth...
Peshmerga Need PYD Green Light to Join Kobane Defense
| 3 hours ago | (7)
Kurd should conquer the shithole middle East | 9/20/2014 4:05:51 PM
What do you mean disputed? Conquer it! And if the shits say anything we'll fight them bastards too.
Seahawk | 9/20/2014 4:12:42 PM
This is the kind of fighting that will win the day.
Kurdish Tribe Fights IS Alone in Disputed Area
| 4 hours ago | (2)
KurdishPower | 9/20/2014 12:38:29 PM
Kurda: If your a Kurd then you should know what ZOZAN is..!?
John Kassabian | 9/20/2014 4:02:04 PM
The U.S. has such a screwed up policy. How can we beat ISIS if we only give guns to Kurds in Iraq?? It is like we are fighting on one front in a two...
PKK Appeals to Kurds in Turkey to Fight for Kobane
| yesterday at 03:47 | (23)

Elsewhere on Rudaw

State Department: US Has no Ban on Oil Sales from Any Part of Iraq 1/8/2014 | (29)

State Department: US Has no Ban on Oil Sales from Any Part of Iraq

“Iraq’s energy resources belong to all of the more
Israel’s Assaults: Self-defense or Aggression? 31/7/2014 | (38)

Israel’s Assaults: Self-defense or Aggression?

Over the past three weeks, the Israeli military more
0.406 seconds