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
1277 Views

Be Part of Your Rudaw!

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

What You Say

azad | 11/26/2014 1:59:46 PM
Kurdish people and I am a kurd myself need to stop being so racist and realise that there are as many good arabs as there are bad. We are not a...
Kurdish independence good for Iraq: Iraqi politician
| 2 hours ago | (1)
Guest | 11/26/2014 9:52:46 AM
Choose allies carefully. These men are extremely clever as they are not interested in Kurdish or minority interests. They serve Iran & a Shiite Arab...
Akar | 11/26/2014 1:44:16 PM
So is there no Kurdish leader or commander who can answer him and say ''Hadi Ameri Goyi xward pr ba nawi dami.'' I really hope Kurds are not silent...
Shiite militia commander: No Kurdish force took part in Saadiya liberation
| 7 hours ago | (5)
Canadian | 11/26/2014 9:07:02 AM
Please start this discussion If Mosul had Kurdish security forces as offered the ISIS could not have taken Mosul. But because the Iraq forces were...
Eric E of Glasgow | 11/26/2014 11:32:06 AM
I think the ISIS warriors are, or rather were, very brave. I mean, it takes bravery to fuck a goat.
Peshmerga repel ISIS attack near Mosul dam
| 18 hours ago | (10)
Observer | 11/25/2014 2:41:16 PM
This is how the other half live.
Batman | 11/26/2014 11:21:36 AM
So what? Her and her family are living in exile where it was made clear they did not belong to Iraq anymore. They literally have been stripped of any...
Extravagant wedding plans by Saddam’s granddaughter cause a stir
| 24/11/2014 | (9)

Elsewhere on Rudaw

Kurdish town hopes Americans will return to abandoned air base 12/11/2014 | (13)

Kurdish town hopes Americans will return to abandoned air base

Speculation circulates that Harir will host a new more
Bringing Silicon Valley to Erbil: teaching Kurds to “do world domination” 11/11/2014 | (16)

Bringing Silicon Valley to Erbil: teaching Kurds to “do world domination”

Swedish start-up coach offers advice to more
Despite rising violence, hope remains for Turkey-PKK peace talks, think-tank says 7/11/2014 | (14)

Despite rising violence, hope remains for Turkey-PKK peace talks, think-tank says

Peace talks not yet broken, report shows. more
0.469 seconds