On the centenary of the Treaty of Lausanne, which marks the hundredth year since its signing, the Kurdish community is conducting a two-day conference and a simultaneous mass march in the Swiss city of Lausanne, starting on Saturday.
The events aim to provide a platform for Kurds in Europe to discuss their experiences as a nation over the past century and shape their vision for the century to come.
A large rally has kicked off following a protest march with tens of thousands of marchers outside the Ruminex Palace, where the Treaty of Lausanne was signed a hundred years ago.
The message coming loud and clear from the Kurdish community at the conference, which has kicked off at the Beaulieu Congress Hall, is one of objection to the Treaty of Lausanne, which was drafted in the absence of any Kurdish representatives and did not recognise Kurdish statehood.
“Our priority is the needs of the people of Kurdistan. Once more, we extend our hand from here in the pursuit of peace,” said Kurdistan National Congress (KNK) Co-chair Ahmet Karamus, making the opening speech of the sizeable conference, which is being attended by more than 600 delegates.
The first panel on Saturday features speakers including Dr Suheyla Qadirî, a historian specialising in international relations, Prof Narmen Muhamad Amen Ali of Salahaddin University in Erbil (Hewlêr), Dr Abdulilah Al Mustafa, Co-chair of the Coordination Committee of North and East Syria Universities and researcher and writer Mehmet Bayrak.
The second day of the conference will host two sessions. The first will be entitled “The Status and Struggle of Women”, with speakers will including Münevver Azizoğlu from the University of Bremen and Nermîn Osman representing Women’s Institutions in Suleymaniyah in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.
The second session of Sunday will delve into “The Status of Armenian, Assyrian, and Chaldean Peoples,” featuring researcher and writer Aydın Aslan and educator Nayri Muradian as speakers.
In the final session, participants will discuss “The 100-Year Struggle Against the Consequences of the Treaty of Lausanne”. The panellists will include Prof Dr Naif Bezwan from the University of Vienna’s School of Law, Dr Azad Haji Aghayi from Jagiellonian University in Poland, and authors Arêz Abdullah and Dr Heval Ebubekir.
The conference’s final declaration will be announced to the public through a press release outside the Château d’Ouchy on Monday morning.
Prominent figures expected to participate in the event include Committee against Lausanne member Yüksel Koç, KNK Co-chair Zeynep Murad, Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) Politburo member Blese Cebar Ferman, Democratic Union Party (PYD) Co-chair Asya Abdullah, Free Women’s Congress (TJK-E) Representative Şükran Sincar and artists and musicians Necmedin Xulami, Şivan Perwer, Çopî Fettah, Mizgîn Tahir, Nasir Rezazî and Hozan Comerd.