From Armenians to Kurds
International Herald Tribune
Regarding "A Test for Turkey: Liberty or Oppression for Kurds in Parliament" (Opinion, Dec. 7) by Leyla Zana:
As one whose parents were Armenian subjects in the Ottoman Empire, I fully understand Leyla Zana's frustration with Turkey's persecution of its Kurdish population. But she deludes herself in hoping for the Turkish government's recognition of Kurdish identity.
Despite Turkey's denial, the Ottomans during World War I solved their "Armenian question" by perpetrating the first genocide of the century. Armenians fought for and established an independent republic in 1918. In 1920, Armenia was attacked and divided by Turkey and the Soviets. Armenia again gained its independence in 1991 when the Soviet Union collapsed.
The Treaty of Sèvres, signed Aug. 10, 1920, granted statehood to Armenia and Kurdistan. The treaty was not worth the paper upon which it was printed. The Kurds will never have recognition of their identity, surely not statehood, so long as historic Kurdistan is controlled by the likes of Turkey, Iran and Iraq. The Western powers and Russia could care less.
As a footnote, it is noted that the Ottomans during World War I instigated attacks by Kurds on Armenians. We might charitably attribute such acts to wartime conditions. In any event, I wish Mrs. Zana and the Kurdish people peace and security.
Buffalo, New York.