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Kurdish Commission (Twilight of a New Era)

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Kurdish Commission
Simsarîye Kurdî (Kurdish)
Commission kurde (French)
Commissione Curda (Italian)
Kürt Komisyonu (Turkish)
Flag of the League of Nations (No Napoleon)

Official Mission Flag of the League of Nations

Diyâr-ı Bekr Vilayet, Ottoman Empire (1900)

Location of Diyarbekir vilayet

Official languages used by Commission Kurdish, English, Turkish, French, Italian
Headquarters Commission Istanbul (Ottoman Empire 1920-1922), Geneva (Switzerland 1922-1924)
Headquarters Delegation of the Commission Diyarbakır (Ottoman Empire 1920-1922)
Establishment Treaty of Lucerne 1920
Type of organization Territory under League of Nations supervision
Creation - Disband 1920-1924 (in recess)

The Treaty of Lucerne established a Commission to determine and delimit a Kurdish Autonomous Province in the Ottoman Empire. During the Anatolian Civil War part of the territories under its supervision self-proclaimed its independence from the Ottoman Empire.

The Kurdish Commission

The proposal of the Commission followed the Armenian reform package of 1912-1914. The project suggested the formation of a single autonomous province from the Diyarbekir vilayet under a Governor-General. The Governor-General was to be appointed by the Ottoman empire on a list of candidates proposed by the League of Nations (LoN), for a five year term. An elected provincial assembly would have limited legislative powers.

However the proposal was not fully accepted, in part by the lack of a united Kurdish leadership that was divided along tribal loyalties and in two camps (autonomy and Independence).

One camp sided with the goal of an internal autonomous province within the Ottoman Empire. This line was followed mainly by reformist groups and Kurdish tribal forces that fought alongside Ottoman troops on the Russian front. The Autonomist were the main supporters of the Commission and provided the basic administrative personnel in its preliminary investigation and implementation of its policies. They organized themselves in the Kurdish Autonomy Party, dissolved in 1924. During the Anatolian Civil War they proposed to the Turkish Republic the establishment of some form of self-government.

The Independent camp sought to establish an independent sovereign Kurdish State (Kurdistan), that included all territories occupied by the Kurdish people inside and outside the Ottoman Empire. During the Anatolian Civil War the independence camp proclaimed the State of Kurdistan.

One minor incident that triggered a long lasting infighting inside Kurdish nationalism was the choice of flag for the Commission. The Autonomist accepted the use of the LoN flag along the flag of the former Ottoman Empire (or Turkish Republic). The Independentist disputed and brawled this choice, instead the Ararat flag was chosen.

The more radical elements under guidance and funding of the Comintern formed People's Revolutionary Party of Kurdistan (PRPK) and its own militia, the Kurdish People's Vanguard (KPV).

After the triumph of the Turkish Republic in the Anatolian Civil War, the Commission moved to the Geneva. In 1924 it communicated the Council and Secretariat of the LoN, that it declared itself in recess until the political climate in Anatolia improved ... and if future conditions allowed it to continue with its mission and mandate..

On Turkey's ascension to the membership of the LoN in 1932 the status of the Kurdish Commission was put on a permanent recess. The revival of the Commission is hindered by Turkish demands to fill the majority of its membership and key posts against the wishes of exiled Kurdish and former members of the Commission.

The Independent State of Kurdistan

Kurdistan
‏‏ کوردستان ‎(Kurdistan, in Kurdish)
Kürdistan (in Turkish)
‏كردستان (Kurdistān, in Arabic)
کردستان‎ (Kordestān, in Persian)
Timeline: Twilight of a New Era

OTL equivalent: Turkish Kurdistan (Southeast of Turkey)
Flag of the Republic of Ararat
Flag of Kurdistan (Flag of Ararat)
Kurdistan 1920 (TNE)
Area claimed by Kurdistan
Capital
(and largest city)
Diyarbakır
Other cities Bitlis, Van, Arbil, Slemani and Mahabad
Language
  official
 
Kurdish
  others Turkish, Arabic and Zazaki
Religion
  main
 
Muslim (sunni and shia)
  others Alevism, Yarsanism and Yazidis
Ethnic Groups
  main
 
Kurds
  others Turks
Demonym Kurd
Government Territory under League of Nations protection
President
Prime Minister
Area claimed aprox. 190,000 km²
Population aprox. 500,000 
Established 1920-1923
Independence from Ottoman Empire
  declared 1921
Annexation to Turkey
  date 1924

In 1921 the Independentist or secessionist self proclaimed an Independent State of Kurdistan. A Kurdish National Army (KNA) was formed in order to fight Turkish troops and help the allies as auxiliaries. Also a political organization, more akin to an informal alliance of tribal chiefs, the Kurdish National Front (KNF) was created.

A provisional government with a President, Council of Ministers and a Kurdistan National Congress was formed. However internal quarrels and tribal loyalties made impossible to have a working state.

The People's Revolutionary Party of Kurdistan (PRPK) and its own militia, the Kurdish People's Vanguard (KPV) sided with Kurdistan, until the Russian FSR and Transcaucasian FSR started to give help to Turkish nationalist. The Comintern ordered the PRPK to rectify its policies and discontinue collaboration with the KNA. Of course its immediate result was a split, with a half of the militants of the PRPK leaving it and forming the rival Kurdistan Toilers' Party (KTP).

There was of an offensive in Northern Iraq as a means reclaim territory and provide refuge, but the Arab Legion and the Royal Iraqi Army with the support of British air raids threw back to Anatolia the guerrilla.

After the Anatolian Civil War

After Anatolian Civil War Kurdish nationalism was either suppressed, prohibited or discouraged.

What was left of the Independist Kurdish National Army lead a guerrilla campaign for several years. Several rebellions were violently repressed. Many of the Independists either stayed on the KNA and its political vehicle the KNF or split in several parties or political movements.

Many of the Autonomist became Kemalist and lobbied for provincial autonomy. These became members of the dominant Republican People's Party (Turkish: Cumhuriyet Halk Partisi, CHP). Others formed short lived political clubs.

The members of the PRPK joined the Communist Party of Turkey, becoming its Kurdish Section. The more radical KTP continued its political and military campaign against the Turkish occupation of Kurdistan.

Kurdish cultural institutions in Turkey were either disband or keep under surveillance. Various restrictions were enacted in the use of Kurdish language.

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