On Turkey’s Genocide of the Kurds


One of the most common traits of every individual genocide is it is consistently negated by its perpetrators. This is mainly rampant in societies that do not possess democratic system of power. A very lucid instance is the republic of Turkey, obstinately resisting to acknowledging the Armenian Genocide of 1915, despite the US House Foreign Affairs Committee lately passing a resolution labeling it as” genocide”

From Nazi holocaust to Rwanda, Armenian, Bosnia and Darfur, all genocides have left profoundly throbbing socio-economic, political and psychological impacts on their victims and ensuing generations. According to figures, genocides and other mass murders account for more human casualties in the twentieth century than all the wars combined.

The renowned genocide of Halabja is regarded as one of the most unrivaled genocide in the history of genocides and mankind because of the maximum number of fatalities inflicted in the least period of time and the method the genocide was carried out. Even today, the residents of Halabja and their family members continue to undergo emotional trauma and post occurrence complications.

What is the definition of Genocide and how is it categorized? Does the ongoing repression and containment taking place in Turkey against the Kurd fall under the universal definition of genocide? What disparity is there between the Armenian Genocide of 1915 as compared to the present Kurdish Genocide in Turkey? What preventive measures should be taken in order to cease the perpetration of genocides overall and what is the role and responsibility of global community in this regard? Why the Kurdish plight does not obtain sufficient attention from the international community?

Let me begin responding to those queries by first referring to the implication of the term genocide briefly. The UN general Assembly characterizes genocide as: “the deliberate and systematic destruction, in whole or in part, of an ethnic, racial, religious, or national group”. Ethnic cleansing has been defined as “the elimination of an unwanted group from society, as by genocide or forced migration.” It is also worth to allude to a U.S. State Department recent report on Kosovo concluding: ethnic cleansing generally entails the systematic and forced removal of members of an ethnic group from their communities to change the ethnic composition of a region.” In consistent with all cited definitions, the continuing forceful resettlement, assimilation and annihilation of Kurds by Turkey fit in this category.

As for the lack of sympathy for Kurdish cause in Turkey compared to the Armenian Genocide, the whole Kurdish genocidal killing is gradual, unremitting and complex to unravel. Since the foundation of outmoded Turkey by Atatürk, Turkish successive fascist militaristic regimes have been ruthlessly trying to destroy Kurds and Kurdistan, having recourse to every viable excessive modus operandi. In effect, the planned and systematic efforts by xenophobic Turkey to wipe out Kurdish national identity, cultural heritage and ethnic roots outstrip the scope of hideous Armenian Genocide. Therefore, it is not exaggeration to assert that Turkey should also be charged with even greater, worst abhorrent crimes against the Kurds by the international tribunal.

The looming of a coherent strategy to hamper future genocides from occurring is not just an ethical imperative; it represents the confluence of many of the most focal issues on many nations’ foreign policy agendas, and should accordingly be made a top tier priority. States have a responsibility to protect their own population from mass violence and if they fail to fulfill their responsibilities, it is the burden of the global community to dynamically participate in alleviating the suffering of people, including resorting to the use of force.

Art present, the world has zoomed in its focus on the Armenian Genocide committed by Ottoman Turks. Being impugned by EU, US, UK, sooner or later, Turkey bears no alternative but to admit its guilt and need to take the de rigueur measures to rectify that horrible historical tragedy. Expectantly, The UN should remind Turkey of its mounting, grave human rights violations, discriminatory and biased treatment of other non-Muslim groups, forced relocation and assimilation of non-Turkish groups and greater rights and autonomy for the 25 million victimized Kurds in that country.

Baqi Barzani was born in 1976 in Barzan- Kurdistan Region (Iraq). His relatives and close family members were killed when Saddam Hussein attacked a Kurdish Village named Barzan. Barzani fled to Pakistan in 1990 where he worked for United Nation High Commissioner for Refugees. He is now applying for U.S. citizenship and plans to work as a linguist/cultural advisor for the U.S. government. He contributes regularly to Kurdish press and media. He is the editor-in-chief of a Kurdish-English online newspaper klawrojna.com.

Originally posted on ekurd.com, March 14, 2010