16. Turkey/Kurds (1922-present)

 

Crisis Phase (December 1, 1922-February 7, 1925): The Committee for Kurdish Independence (Kurt Istiqlal Djemiyeti - KID) was established by Yusuf Ziya Bey and Halit Bey in December 1922. The government decreed the banning of all Kurdish schools, organizations, publications, and religious fraternities on March 3, 1924 (the government also abolished the position of caliphate, or supreme leader of Muslims, on March 3, 1924). Yusuf Ziya Bey and Colonel Halit Bey were arrested by government police on October 10 and December 20, 1924, and were executed by the government in Bitlis on March 19-20, 1925.

Conflict Phase (February 8, 1925-December 31, 1938): Some 15,000 Kurdish nationalists led by Sheikh Sa’id rebelled against the government in eastern Turkey beginning on February 8, 1925, and declared Darhini as the provisional capital of Kurdistan on February 14, 1925. Kurdish rebels captured the town of Kharput (Elazig) on February 26, 1925, and the government declared martial law on February 26, 1925. The government mobilized some 52,000 troops to suppress the Kurdish rebellion. Kurdish rebels captured Arghana and Osmaniyeh on March 7, 1925. Kurdish rebels attacked Hinis on March 27, 1925, resulting in the deaths of 27 rebels. Sheikh Sa’id and several Kurdish leaders were captured by government troops between April 15 and May 10, 1925. Some 5,000 government soldiers and 4,000 Kurdish rebels were killed during the rebellion. Some 500,000 Kurds were deported to other parts of the country between 1925 and 1928, resulting in the deaths of some 200,000 Kurds. The government executed 47 Kurdish nationalist leaders, including Sheikh Sa’id, in Diyarbekir on September 4, 1925. Some 660 Kurdish rebels were executed for their involvement in the rebellion. Kurdish nationalists rebelled against the government in Hinis, Vorto, Slohan, Bingol, and Gendj between 1926 and 1927. The Khoybun (Independence) was established by Kurdish nationalists led by Jaladat Badr Khan in October 1927. Kurdish nationalists rebelled against the government in Sassoun, Kozlouk, and Perwari in 1928. Kurdish nationalists led by General Ihsan Nuri Pasha rebelled against the government in the Mount Ararat region beginning in February 1929. Iran provided military assistance to the Kurdish rebels in the Mount Ararat region. Government troops commanded by General Salih Pasha launched a military offensive against Kurdish rebels in the Mount Ararat region from June 11 to September 7, 1930.  Government troops suppressed the rebellion in the Mount Ararat region in 1931. Several thousand Kurds were killed during the rebellion. Several hundred thousand Kurds were deported to other parts of the country, as a result of a law approved by the Turkish parliament on May 5, 1932. Kurdish nationalists led by Seyid Riza rebelled against the government in the Dersim region in Tunceli province between March and November 1937. The Turkish government declared martial law in the Dersim region. Government troops captured Seyid Riza on September 5, 1937, and Seyid Riza was executed by the government on November 18, 1937. Kurdish nationalists resumed their rebellion against the government in the Dersim region in April 1938. The Turkish government ordered a military offensive against the Kurdish rebels on May 4, 1938, and government troops suppressed the rebellion in December 1938. Some 40,000 Kurds were killed during the rebellions in the Dersim region in 1937 and 1938. Some 250,000 individuals were killed, and some 1.5 million Kurds were displaced from February 1925 to December 1938.

Post-Conflict Phase (January 1, 1939-December 30, 1946): The government lifted martial law in Tunceli province on December 30, 1946.

Post-Crisis Phase (December 31, 1946-November 26, 1978):

Crisis Phase (November 27, 1978-August 13, 1984): The Kurdish Worker’s Party (Partiya Karkaren Kurdistan - PKK) was established on November 27, 1978, and Abdullah Ocalan was named chairman of the PKK. Lebanon and Syria provided military assistance (training bases) to the PKK. Abdullah Ocalan fled to Syria in September 1980. PKK rebels killed 213 civilians and 30 government soldiers between 1978 and March 1981. Thirty-five PKK rebels were sentenced to death on May 24, 1983. Three Kurds were convicted and sentenced to death for treason in Diyarbakir on December 1, 1983, and another 48 Kurds were convicted and sentenced to death in Diyarbakir on April 19, 1984. Two Kurds were convicted and sentenced to death in Adana on May 4, 1984. Some 250 individuals were killed during the crisis.

Conflict Phase (August 14, 1984-August 31, 1999):  The PKK rebelled against the Turkish government in the provinces of Diyarbakir, Hakkari, Siirt, Simak, Tunceli, and Van beginning on August 15, 1984.  Government troops launched a military offensive against PKK rebels in eastern Turkey on October 16, 1984.  Seventeen Kurds were convicted and sentenced to death in Diyarbakir on January 10, 1985 (fourteen of the death sentences were immediately commuted to imprisonment).  Twenty-two members of the PKK were convicted and sentenced to death in Diyarbakir on February 19, 1985.  Ten Kurds were convicted and sentenced to death in Diyarbakir on July 17, 1985.  Twenty-three members of the PKK were convicted and sentenced to death in Diyarbakir on February 26, 1986.  Twenty-five members of the PKK were convicted and sentenced to death in Adana on August 6, 1986.  The government declared a state-of-emergency in the provinces of Diyarbakir, Hakkari, Siirt, Simak, Tunceli, and Van in 1987.  Twenty members of the PKK were sentenced to death in Diyarbakir on February 5, 1988.  The government renewed the state-of-emergency on June 23, 1992.  Abdullah Ocalan, leader of the PKK, announced a unilateral ceasefire on March 17, 1993, but Kurdish rebels resumed military hostilities against the government on May 25, 1993.  Some 525,000 Kurds were internally-displaced between 1993 and 1994, and some 15,000 Kurdish refugees fled to northern Iraq in 1994.  Some 35,000 government troops launched a military offensive against PKK rebels in northern Iraq beginning on March 20, 1995.  Germany imposed military sanctions (suspension of military assistance) against the government on March 28, 1995.  Norway and the Netherlands imposed military sanctions (suspension of arms sales) against the government in April 1995.  Some 560,000 Kurds were internally-displaced in 1997.  The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) assisted with the repatriation of some 1,600 refugees from northern Iraq from July 1996 to December 1998.  Some 20,000 government troops launched a military offensive against Kurdish rebels in northern Iraq on December 5, 1997.  Government police captured PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan in Nairobi, Kenya, and transferred him to Turkey on February 17, 1999.  The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) condemned the government for the forced transfer of Abdullah Ocalan on February 18, 1999.  Abdullah Ocalan accused the Turkish government of violating several articles of the European Convention on Human Rights, and he referred the matter to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) on February 18, 1999.  The government tried Abdullah Ocalan for treason beginning on May 31, 1999.  Abdullah Ocalan was convicted and sentenced to death by a Turkish court on June 29, 1999.  Some 10,000 government troops conducted a military offensive against PKK rebels in northern Iraq on July 2-10, 1999.  The PKK announced an unilateral ceasefire on August 31, 1999.  Some 37,000 individuals, including some 5,200 government soldiers, 26,500 PKK rebels, and 5,200 civilians, were killed during the conflict.  Some 600,00 individuals were displaced during the conflict.

Post-Conflict Phase (September 1, 1999-May 31, 2004):  The government lifted the state of emergency in Siirt province in November 1999.  The government lifted the state-of-emergency in the remaining provinces (Simak and Diyarbakir) on November 30, 2002.  On March 12, 2003, the ECHR ruled that Abdullah Ocalan did not receive a fair trial in 1999, but also ruled that his prison conditions were not unlawful.  The PKK ended its unilateral ceasefire on May 31, 2004.

Conflict Phase (June 1, 2004-present):  The PKK (renamed Kongra-Gel) resumed its rebellion against the government on June 1, 2004.  Government troops clashed with PKK rebels in southeastern Turkey on April 16, 2005, resulting in the deaths of four government soldiers and 21 PKK rebels.  PKK rebels bombed a passenger train in eastern Turkey on July 2, 2005, resulting in the deaths of six individuals.  PKK rebels bombed a bus in Kusadasi on July 16, 2005, resulting in the deaths of five individuals.  On July 17, 2006, Prime Minister Bertie Ahern of Ireland and Foreign Secretary Jack Straw of Britain condemned the PKK bombing, which killed an Irish citizen and a British citizen.  PKK rebels killed four government soldiers in Sirnak province on November 26, 2005.  Government troops killed 14 PKK rebels on March 25, 2006.  PKK rebels killed four individuals in bombings in Istanbul on March 31-April 2, 2006.  The US condemned the PKK bombings on April 3, 2006.  PKK rebels killed two government soldiers in Hakkari on June 6, 2006.  PKK rebels killed two government soldiers in Tunceli on June 11, 2006.  PKK rebels killed four government soldiers in Van province on June 23, 2006.  PKK rebels killed two government policemen in Bingol on June 30, 2006.  PKK rebels killed five government soldiers in Bitlis on July 13, 2006.  PKK rebels killed seven government soldiers in Siirt on July 15, 2006.  PKK rebels bombed several locations in Istanbul and other cities on August 25-28, 2006, resulting in the deaths of three individuals.  The US condemned the PKK bombings on August 30, 2006.  The PKK declared a ceasefire on September 28, 2006, but the government rejected the ceasefire on September 29, 2006.  Some 650 individuals, including some 250 government security personnel and 360 Kurdish rebels, have been killed in the conflict since June 2004.

[Sources: Associated Press (AP), December 5, 1997, December 27, 1997, June 12, 1999; Barkey and Fuller, 1997, 59-79; Bercovitch and Jackson, 1997, 220-221; British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), September 2, 2003, May 29, 2004, April 15, 2005, July 2, 2005, July 17, 2005, August 19, 2005, August 29, 2005, March 30, 2006, April 4, 2006, August 29, 2006, September 28, 2006, September 29, 2006, September 30, 2006; Brogan, 1992, 321-332; Button, 1995, 70-83; Chaliand, 1993, 45-62; Ciment, 1996, 16-19, 43-52; Clodfelter, 1992, 1077; Degenhardt, 1988, 383-384; European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) press release, February 18, 1999; Gunter, 1988, 389-406; Gunter, 1990a, 57-81; Gunter, 1997; International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) press release, February 18, 1999; Jessup, 1998, 409-410, 759-764; Keesing's Record of World Events, August 1984, July 1986, May 1987, June 1988, April 1990, August 1991, October 1991, March 1992, April 1992, May 1992, June 1992, August 1992, September 1992, October 1992, October 1993, November 1993, August 1994, March 1995, April 1995; Kirisci and Winrow 1997; Lewis, 1955/1965, 86-131; McDowall, 1996, 184-213; Middle East Journal (MEJ), Summer 1983, Autumn 1984, Winter 1984, Spring 1985, Summer 1985, Spring 1986, Spring 1987, Autumn 1987, Winter 1987, Summer 1988, Summer 1990, Summer 1991, Autumn 1991, Winter 1991, Summer 1992; O’Ballance, 1996, 15-16, 146-168, 206-235; Olson, 1989, 91-127; Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), June 22, 2004; Reuters, August 5, 1998, February 17, 1999, June 29, 1999, July 8, 1999, July 10, 1999, September 29, 1999, September 25, 2000, October 9, 2000, October 12, 2000, October 30, 2000, January 9,2001, January 11, 2001, March 15, 2001, April 15, 2001, May 23, 2001, June 11, 2001, October 17, 2001, November 30, 2002; Toynbee and Kirkwood, 1926, 259-273; Voice of America (VOA), April 8, 2006; Zurcher, 1993, 97-228.]