Sykes–Picot to be Blamed for the Century of Exterminations

In the eve of the first World War, the world powers negotiated the future of Ottoman Empire. The allies especially Britain, France and Russia has negotiated the partitioning of the Empire. Mark Sykes and Francois Georges Picot represented Britain and France in the secret agreement to reshape the map of the future Middle East. Subsequently, the agreement was ratified in May 16, 1916 to divide the Ottoman Empire. The British mandated Iraq and Palestine; Lebanon and Syria mandated under French rules. The great powers divided Kurdistan into 5 parts which becomes a foundation to establish artificial Turkey, Syria, and Iraq.

Provisions of treaty of Sevres for Independent Kurdistan: 1920
Provisions of treaty of Sevres for Independent Kurdistan: 1920

The agreement was a starting point to the greater war as it placed Kurds and Arabs, Kurds and Turks, Sunni and Shi’a in the same basket. It has initiated a new era of ethnic and sectarian conflict. Since then, the Kurds has struggled hard to obtain their national rights in those artificial countries and the fights sometimes goes beyond that. Several revolutions and uprising has emerged as the result of the unfair treatment of those countries with the Kurds including Simko Shikak Revolt (1918-1922), Sheikh Mahmud Barzanji revolt (1922-1924), Sheikh Said rebellion (1925), Arrarat Rebellion (1927-1930), Dersim Revolt (1937-1938), Mustafa Barzani revolt and many others. After two decades from the agreement, the Turkish government has committed a massacre against local Kurds in Dersim that resulted the death of over 50 thousand Kurds.

Until recently, being Kurdish in Turkey was considered a crime. Constitutionally, the presence of over 20 million Kurds is denied. Millions of Kurds were banned to speak Kurdish for almost a century, they were banned to name their children in Kurdish, they were banned to practice their culture, tradition and customs, they were banned from any political activities and anything smells life. Their villages were destroyed, thousands were killed. What Nazis has done in few years, Turkey almost done the same in a century.

Turkish soldiers and local people of Dersim
Turkish soldiers and local people of Dersim

In Iraq, the Kurds has experienced worse in terms of casualties comparing to Kurdish in the other parts. For nearly a century, none of the Iraqi governments treated Kurds fairly. The government Arabized Kurdish cities especially in Kirkuk and forced Kurdish to live their homes. Nearly 5 thousand villages were destroyed. Kurdish language banned in the schools and universities, for most Kurdish it was very difficult to be accepted in universities and colleges especially in medical, engineering collages, and higher educations; celebrating Kurdish new year were banned, and Kurds were unable to become a mayor or to held high government positions, they were not easily employed if they didn’t have a linkage to the government.

In 1987, the Iraqi government under Saddam Hussein committed Anfal genocide against Kurds. More than 180,000 civilian Kurds mostly women and children were taken to the desert and they were buried alive. The tragedy for Kurds under Iraq continued until 1988 when Iraqi government used chemical weapon in the city of Halabja and killed 5,000 in a matter of minutes. Apart from that, 8,000 Barzani Kurds and thousands of Faili Kurds were killed in the so called Anfal campaign. In 1991, Kurds in Iraq were able to banish government forces in Kurdistan except for Kirkuk which remained under Iraqi rules until 20103.

Coffins containing the remains of Anfal victims
Coffins containing the remains of Anfal victims

As Saddam gone, Kurds somehow dreamed for better in new Iraq, but we realized that the new Iraq is worse than the old Iraq. The new Iraq was full of blood, and injustice. The new Iraqi politicians do not mind to commit the same crimes that were committed previously. Their mentality is almost the same, only the faces changed. For two years, they cut a budget of Kurdistan and people hardly paying for their daily lives. A part of the Iraq is under the Islamic State (ISIS); the other part is under the Shi’a militants. Both are continuously threatening Kurds. Revealing Kurdish identity in any Iraqi city could cost you a life.

In Iran, Kurds also experienced injustice under the secular king and Islamic republic. Kurds are banned from their basic rights. The government systematically worked to change the Kurdish culture and steal their history. Kurds are facing death penalty on daily bases for being different and banned from any political or cultural activities. Any affiliation to a Kurdish political party could results in death penalty. The government has neglected Kurdish cities from basic services and work hard to keep Kurds under poverty lines.

In Syria, Kurds were not even given an identity card. They didn’t have the right of education; most of them couldn’t enroll in collages. Kurdish language was banned in public sector organizations. Any political activities were proscribed. They were humiliated and treated lower than the second class citizens. Hundreds were killed without even a jail just for their empathy towards a Kurdish case. Kurdish cities in Syria were left under developed. Villages and towns were Arabized.

Sykes–Picot is behind all these blood-shedding and injustices that we faced in the last 100 years. Now, Iraq, Syria, and Turkey are experiencing their worst momentum. They are in a very intensive security condition and civil war; people are dying on daily basis for no reason. Those countries are only remained by names, in reality they are no longer there and Sykes–Picot needs to be blamed for their irrational and unethical division plan.

If Sykes–Picot were alive, they had to be trialed along Hitler, Mussolini and Saddam. Most crises we see in Iraq, Syria and Turkey is because their falls plan. Those countries established based on force and annihilations. They were formed from the beginning to excavate another conflict.

Its time to put the end to Sykes–Picot and reshape the map of these countries. We don’t accept world recommendations to give another million chances to these artificial countries. We have given enough chances, we are tired of war, we are tired of discrimination and exterminations. It’s a best time to create independent Kurdistan.




About the Author
Nabaz is a lecturer at Lebanese French University. He obtained PhD. and Master degree in Public Management, UUM. He also holds a bachelor degree in Politics & International Relations, UKH. Nabaz is more interested to write on current political, economic and financial issues in the Middle East.
Related Topics
Related Posts