Sedat Ulugana: The Kurds were in the dark about the Treaty of Lausanne and its consequences

A century ago, on July 24, 1923, the Treaty of Lausanne was signed. Great Britain, France, Italy, Japan, Greece, Romania, Yugoslavia, and Turkey signed this treaty in Lausanne, Switzerland. With this treaty, the land of Kurdistan was divided between Iraq, Iran, Syria, and Turkey. This is one of the most important treaties for Turkey. The […]

Sedat Ulugana: The Kurds were in the dark about the Treaty of Lausanne and its consequences
Sedat Ulugana: The Kurds were in the dark about the Treaty of Lausanne and its consequences
  • Yayınlanma25 July 2023 13:52
  • Güncelleme25 July 2023 13:58

A century ago, on July 24, 1923, the Treaty of Lausanne was signed.

Great Britain, France, Italy, Japan, Greece, Romania, Yugoslavia, and Turkey signed this treaty in Lausanne, Switzerland.

With this treaty, the land of Kurdistan was divided between Iraq, Iran, Syria, and Turkey.

This is one of the most important treaties for Turkey. The current borders of the Turkish Republic are determined by this treaty.

What did the Kurds do when the Treaty of Lausanne was signed? Could they interfere in this agreement that divided their country into four parts?

According to Sedat Ulugan, a researcher and academic who studies the recent history of the Kurds, “The Kurds have not been aware of what the Treaty of Lausanne is and what it will cause to them”

Sedat Ulugan

A hundred years have passed since the treaty. In a hundred years, Kurds have suffered many pains in the four parts.

We talked with Sedat Ulugan about the situation of the Kurds in 1921-1923.

“The Kurds were not lucky”

The governments of the French, the Soviets, the British, and the Bolsheviks supported the Kemalists and they wanted a Turkish state. Because of supporting of these countries to the Turkish, the Kurds were not lucky.

“Kurdish masses and tribes weren’t engaged in politics”

We should also mention that Kurdish cities were destroyed in 1921-1923. Kurdistan was destroyed directly. Until 1925, cities like Van and Bedlis were not built. The Kurds were devastated during that period. About 500,000 Kurds lost their lives to disease and scarcity during World War I. 500.000 of them died in the war.

When we look at the number of Kurds at that time, the Kurdish population was already 3 million. The Kurds lost almost one of third of their population. People were starving and there was a famine in Kurdistan. Because of these reasons, Kurds and Kurdish tribes were not engaged in politics.

“When Kemalists were aware that Kurdish intellectuals do not influence the masses”

Kurdish sheiks and masters were engaged in politics. Bedirkhani and Sayyid Abdullahan families were also a center of Kurdish intellectuals in Istanbul.

Kürt Teali Cemiyeti (The Kurdish Advancement Community) was established by the Cemil Pasha family. However, influence on the masses was non-existent and many were among themselves. When Kemalists were aware that Kurdish intellectuals do not influence the masses, they started to communicate with the Kurdish agha, clan leader, and sheiks.

They say to them, ‘Lausanne is a diplomatic war. Just as we fought back against the Europeans. This is our state. Our state is an Islamic state. They were trying to convince them to support Lausanne.

Only some person of the Kurdish Advancement Community, Elishêr, and Seyyid Riza, who are not under the influence of the Kurdish Sunnis, appeal to the Lausanne agreement. However, their objection was useless.

The Kurds were in the dark about the Treaty of Lausanne and its consequences

The Kurds have not understood what Lausanne is and what it will cause to them. Only a few Kurdish intellectuals and enlightened knew that the Kemalists were racists. But the Kurdish tribes and individuals were not in this difference. The French and English had already decided. The only thing that was missing was the signing of the treaty. Then they met in Lausanne under the British and French leadership and signed the treaty. They divided Kurdistan’s land between four countries without saying to them.

This news was translated by Yonca Sarsilmaz